Franklin Man Accused of Abusing 5-Year-Old Child Blames Dog

| February 23, 2021

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – A Franklin man is behind bars after a report of a dog attacking a five-year-old child turned into an investigation into suspected child abuse.

Court documents indicate the Franklin Police Department filed criminal charges against 26-year-old Gary Lynn Baker.

According to a criminal complaint, around 8:06 p.m. on February 14, Franklin Police were dispatched to a report of a child attacked by a dog at a location on Buffalo Street.

Police arrived to find the five-year-old victim sitting on her mother’s lap on a couch with a recent physical injury to her face and petechiae (round spots that appear on the skin as a result of bleeding) around her eyes.

According to the complaint, Gary Baker told police he was the only one home with the victim at the time of the incident. He said the victim was upstairs in the hallway of the residence while he was in an adjacent bedroom when he heard the victim screaming.

Baker told police he then saw his dog, an adult Pitbull, on top of the victim in the hallway, and the dog’s mouth was over the victim’s mouth, biting her.

Police then insisted that the victim be seen at a local hospital for possible internal injuries, as there was redness observed on her stomach.

The complaint states Baker later failed to disclose other injuries that were discovered by hospital staff, which included bruising, redness, scratches, and handprints on the victim’s buttocks, legs, and neck.

A UPMC employee who assisted the victim upon her arrival at the Emergency Room contacted Franklin Police to inform them of the further injuries, which the employee stated were not indicative of a dog attack, but rather indicative of child abuse, according to the complaint.

Baker was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Matthew T. Kirtland at 5:15 p.m. on February 19, on the following charges:

– Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Felony 3
– Simple Assault, Misdemeanor 1
– Unsworn Falsification to Authorities, Misdemeanor 2
– Harassment – Subject Other to Physical Contact, Summary

Unable to post $10,000.00 monetary bail, he was lodged in the Venango County Jail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on March 3 in Venango County Central Court with Judge Kirtland presiding.

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