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US Attorney Hickton: Local Teen Abduction Case to be Top Priority

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 @ 01:04 AM

Posted by Joanne Bauer

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (EYT) – David J. Hickton, United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, says the case against a Leeper man accused of abducting a 13-year-old girl, will be made a top priority.

On April 9, Joshua D. Baker, 31, formerly of 315 Arnold Avenue, Leeper, Pa. was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of interstate transportation of a minor for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual activity and travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

According to the indictment, on or about March 28, 2013, Baker knowingly transported across state lines a minor (13-year-old) female with the intent of engaging in sexual activity with the minor.

Baker and the teen were located on Saturday in Martin, S.D., after investigators received a tip from a worker at an optometrist’s office. The worker called police after she saw Baker and the teen and suspected suspicious activity.

Yesterday, US Attorney David J. Hickton told that Baker is still in a federal holding facility in South Dakota. Hickton says Baker is currently being processed and will be sent to Western Pennsylvania at an undetermined time.

When he arrives, Baker will be presented to the Grand Jury on the two counts.

Count 1 – interstate transportation of a minor for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual activity – provides a minimum of 10 years imprisonment.

Count 2 – travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct – provides a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment.

State charges of kidnapping a minor and interfering with custody were filed on Monday in Clarion County.

Hickton told exploreClarion, “State charges will be partially maintained. The kidnapping charges will most likely be dropped.”

“This situation is a sad reminder of the need to have resources available to protect our children from predators,” said Hickton.

“I have a deep commitment to protect children from predators. One in 10 of our convictions involve children. The law provides for severe punishment for crimes against children on a federal, state, and local level,” Hickton continued.

“Predators use children in many ways – through the internet, through building trust relationships with children to exploit them.”

“We have a Community Outreach Program to promote safer communities. We help families become aware of predators. Our program educates families about staying safe, and it provides information on how to prevent abduction and child abuse.”

Hickton was uncertain whether the 13-year-old girl would be required to testify against Baker.

It is unknown if Baker has obtained legal representation.

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