Former Police Officer Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Prison
A former police officer who worked for both the Carthage and Robbins departments pleaded guilty to numerous felonies Thursday in Superior Court.
Travis Lee Baker, 32, of Pinehurst, was charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count each of crime against nature, second-degree rape and second-degree sexual assault and obstruction of justice. He also faced multiple charges of identity theft, access to government computers without permission, and felony obstruction of justice.
Under a plea arrangement worked out with Assistant District Attorney Peter Strickland, some charges were dropped and others consolidated for sentencing.
Baker was sentenced to 10 to 12 months on all the identity and access charges, consolidated for sentencing, and four to five months on the sexual battery charge and one of two obstruction of justice counts. A second obstruction of justice count resulted in additional time in prison, according to Strickland.
“He will serve from 18 months minimum to 22 months maximum on all counts,” Strickland said after court.
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge James M. Webb gave Baker the benefit of some mitigation based on his honorable discharge from military service, for continuing to support his family, having active support in the community and for cooperating fully with the State Bureau of Investigation on the investigation.
Baker had served as a police officer with the Carthage Police Department before going to work for the Robbins Police Department, from which he was fired when charges came to light.
Carthage Chief Bart Davis said the former police officer was not employed with his department when he committed wrongdoings. According to the SBI’s Noelle Talley, the incident that led to the sexual battery charge happened Aug. 16, 2011, when Baker was a Robbins officer.
The other incidents were alleged to have taken place in March 2011 — after he left Carthage and before he was hired in Robbins. They were being investigated at the time Baker took the Robbins job, but that department was not made aware of the investigation.
“The SBI investigation had been going on prior to April before he came to Robbins,” former Town Manager George Hayfield said at the time. “Had we known that about it then, he wouldn’t have been hired.”
Robbins placed Baker on administrative leave once the investigation came to light and fired him after he was indicted in December.
“After Baker left the Carthage Police Department, he used government computers to find out information about his girlfriend’s ex,” Strickland told the court as he summarized evidence to support the plea. “It was used in a custody hearing, and he used the ID of another officer to do that.”
When Baker stopped a woman in August 2011 he told her he would not write her a ticket if she had sex with him, which she did, Strickland said. That led to charges of second-degree rape and crime against nature, which were dropped as part of Baker’s guilty plea to sexual battery.
Baker, who had been out on bail, surrendered following his plea and was in the Moore County jail on a temporary hold pending arrival sentencing documents from the court. He was represented by Brett Yauger, a Carthage attorney.
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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