Job Offer Got Creepy Fast, Woman Says

     SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) – A 72-year-old spa owner sexually assaulted a woman after offering through Craigslist to “train” her for a job using an anti-aging device, the woman claims in court.
     Jane Doe sued Raymond Newton Baker and his alleged companies, Beautiful Image, and Bionova Research, on June 17 in Orange County Court.
     Baker, of Laguna Niguel, was arrested in February on suspicion of penetration with a foreign object and sexual battery, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said at the time.
     A sheriff’s lieutenant told the Orange County Register that there was “no indication Baker operated a legitimate business or had any patents pending,” the newspaper reported.
     Doe claims Baker offered to hire her through a Craigslist ad, but first he had to “train” her to use his “‘soon to be patented’ cosmetic ‘microcurrent’ device.”
     He subjected her to “training” that became increasingly creepy and culminated in repeated sexual assaults, Doe says in the complaint.
     “On one occasion, Baker asked plaintiff to wear a thong and shave her pubic area prior to the scheduled training session. On another occasion, Baker asked plaintiff to remove her clothes while using an old fashioned vibrating exercise belt machine designed to promote weight loss; plaintiff declined to take her clothes off and have her bare breasts and buttocks vibrate freely. Ultimately, Baker proceeded to penetrate plaintiff’s vagina with the ‘microcurrent device,’ tap plaintiff’s vagina with his bare hand, fondle plaintiff’s nipples, and grope plaintiff’s buttocks,” the complaint states.
     Doe says she reported the sexual assault to law enforcement in February and agreed to wear a wire during a sting operation that resulted in Baker’s arrest.
     Doe’s attorney Skye Daley, of Irvine, called the case “horrifying.”
     “This was a man who turned to Craigslist and essentially sent out feelers to lure young women with the promise of work,” Daley told Courthouse News.
     He said his firm, Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, specializes in sexual abuse cases.
     “The common theme (in) any sexual abuse case is the abuse of authority by someone who wields it,” Daley said. “When someone in a position of authority abuses that authority, it can be hard for the victim to recognize it because it’s so easy to be blinded by the aura of strength. “
     In this case, he said, his client was “a licensed esthetician looking for honest work to better herself professionally and financially, and that was perverted by Ray Baker.”
     Doe, 29, says Baker told her more than 18 people had responded to his job offer.
     Citing that claim in the lawsuit, attorney Daley added: “It’s tough to gauge whether he was abusing women who didn’t realize they were being abused, or if there are others who are too ashamed to come forward, which is completely understandable.” Daley said he did not know the status of the criminal proceedings against Baker.
     The defendants did not immediately return requests for comment.
     Doe seeks punitive damages for sexual assault, sexual battery, gender violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent failure to warn and other charges.
     Craigslist is not a party to the complaint.
     Daley’s firm is in Irvine.

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