A psychologist has been sentenced to 18 years’ jail for sexually abusing eight male patients aged between nine and 22.
WARNING: This article contains information that may be confronting for some readers.
- The 54-year-old will serve at least 12 years in jail over the sustained abuse of eight male patients
- Prior to becoming a psychologist, Baker was jailed in the US for sexually abusing a child of a family friend
- The court heard he lied to the Australian health authorities about his criminal past
Craig Myles Baker pleaded guilty to 13 charges including indecent and sexual assault which occurred between 2015 and 2017 on the NSW Mid North Coast.
In handing down his sentence, Judge James Bennett provided an insight into the “significant emotional harm” the 54-year-old inflicted on his vulnerable patients that he “masqueraded as treatment”.
During sentencing on Monday, the court heard Baker showed two nine-year-old patients pornographic videos during separate consults, masturbated in front of one patient and massaged the private parts of other patients.
One patient was ordered to stand naked during consults and another was made to walk naked in public.
Judge Bennett said Baker’s predatory behaviour ended when he was arrested in December 2017 at Coffs Harbour after one of his child patients reported the abuse to police.
‘Egregious’ behaviour and a dark past
The court was told Baker, who served three years as the deputy chair of the NSW branch of the Australian Psychological Society, established himself in the sector after changing from a career in finance in 2008.
But Judge Bennett said he had repeatedly lied to health regulatory boards about his criminal convictions while living in the United States.
Documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed the Australian had served three years’ jail for sexually assaulting a nine-year-old child, as well as 30 days’ jail for exposing his penis to another child at a construction site in the mid-1990s.
Judge Bennett said the US convictions were not factored into Monday’s sentencing but informed the need for community protection from Baker.
The defence submitted the South African-born Baker had been sexually abused and severely bullied as a child, but the judge questioned the truthfulness about the extent of his abuse.
Judge Bennett also said he did not believe Baker had shown adequate remorse because he attempted to change his guilty pleas while in custody.
The 54-year-old appeared via video link in the District Court in Sydney from the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre. He appeared emotionless and sat with his head down as Judge Bennett handed down the sentence.
Baker will be eligible for parole in December 2029.