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50 years possible for Latrobe man who pleaded guilty to sex assualt of young girls

| Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Latrobe man was ordered to serve up to 50 years in prison for sexually assaulting two young girls.

Frank Baker III, 24, pleaded guilty Thursday to rape and related counts for repeated sexual assaults that started when his victims were just 5 and 2.

Baker, who had no prior criminal record, was accused of molesting the children over a two-year period that ended in January.

Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway imposed terms of a negotiated plea bargain. Baker was sentenced to serve 25 to 50 years in prison and seven years on probation.

“Obviously these children are young and this would let them not testify,” Hathaway said. “This is a gift from the commonwealth. You could easily have gotten life in prison.”

Baker offered no explanations in court Thursday, saying he agreed to plead guilty because it was in his best interest to do so.

Public Defender Anthony Bompiani said Baker wanted to avoid a trial.

“I think he made the right decision today to plead guilty. It was a reasonable offer based on the circumstances,” Bompiani said.

Baker, once he is released from prison, will be required to register his whereabouts with state police for the remainder of his life.

Baker is expected to return to court in about three months for a hearing to determine if he will be classified by the judge as a sexually violent predator.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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