Church counselor accused of luring girl for sex nabbed at mall

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

TEMPE - A man was arrested for luring a minor for sexual exploitation on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe.

Phoenix Police spokesman James Holmes said in a press release that the suspect, 21-year-old Garrett Allan Baker of Phoenix, had met an 11-year-old girl in 2008 at the El Camino Pines Lutheran Church summer camp in Camarillo, Calif.

Holmes said Baker was a counselor at the camp, and that the suspect exchanged numbers with the girl, whose name has been withheld, while she was there.

Baker allegedly stayed in contact with the girl on Facebook and with text messages after she left the camp, and the two continued to keep in touch after Baker moved to Arizona in the fall of 2009.

Holmes said the communications aroused the suspicions of the girl's father, who installed phone-monitoring software which recorded the texts between his daughter and Baker.

The sexual nature of the texts prompted the girl's father to contact authorities, who were able to use the girl's phone to assume her identity and set up a meeting with Baker, Holmes said. Police were able to convince Baker that he would be meeting the girl on Feb. 10, 2010 at the Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe, where he would pick her up and take her to his Phoenix apartment for sexual contact.

Phoenix Police undercover detectives and a Tempe Police detective met Baker at the mall and he was arrested without incident, Holmes said, adding that he made admissions about his offense while in custody.

Holmes said Baker was booked into the Maricopa County Jail, and that his case will be submitted to the Maricopa Count Attorney's Office.

Baker is currently employed as a caregiver by Transitions for the Developmentally Disabled in Phoenix, Holmes said.

Police ask that anyone with information about Baker call the Phoenix Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at (602)-650-3178.