Man admits raping 2-year-old girl

An Oak Harbor man admitted that he raped a 2-year-old girl, an assault that injured her so badly she had to have surgery at Children’s Hospital in Seattle, according to the Island County Prosecutor’s Office.

Jordon Baze, 26, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court Thursday to child rape in the first degree. As part of the plea bargain, he has agreed with the prosecutor’s sentence recommendation of 15 years to life in prison, which is years beyond the standard sentencing range.

Deputy Prosecutor Patrick McKenna said he would have accepted nothing less for the “heinous crime.”

“Even the emergency room physician called it one of the worst cases he’d even seen,” McKenna said.

Prosecuting Attorney Greg Banks agreed.

“If ever there was a crime deserving of an exceptional sentence, this is it,” Banks said. “I cannot comprehend how a person could do such a thing to any person, let alone to a helpless toddler.”

Baze was scheduled to go to trial on the child rape charge June 10. Greg Banks said it would have been the most expensive criminal trial in the county since he took office in 1999, but that the office had no hesitation going forward.

“We were willing to do whatever was necessary to secure a conviction,” Banks said.

A nationally-recognized DNA expert, physicians, a child abuse expert and at least 10 factual witnesses — including people who had to be flown in from out of state — were due to testify.

McKenna said a unique type of test which was performed by a private California lab matched DNA found in the diaper to Baze.

Baze, formerly a waiter in Oak Harbor, raped the toddler when the girl’s mother left the SE Barrington Drive apartment they shared. She went to do laundry. She returned to find the girl crying and mysteriously covered in glue.

McKenna said it’s still unclear why the suspect put the glue on the child. “I can speculate, but only Baze knows for sure,” he said.

The woman called 911 after finding a great deal of blood in the toddler’s diaper. The girl had to be transported to Children’s Hospital and received more than two dozen stitches. Oak Harbor Police Detective Teri Gardner investigated the case.

Detectives later arrested Baze, following a brief foot chase, on a $250,000 bench warrant after he did not appear at a court hearing, according to Gardner.

Baze’s attorney, Darrin Hall of Coupeville, said he had no comment as to why Baze decided to plead guilty.

Under the plea bargain, Baze has agreed to an exceptional sentence, which is beyond the standard range and reserved for crimes with certain aggravating circumstances. In this case, prosecutors point to the vulnerability of the victim.

“The standard sentence range was simply inadequate for what happened to this little girl,” said McKenna. Baze was facing a standard sentencing range of 93 to 123 months in prison.

McKenna said the child is doing well and doesn’t remember the assault.

Baze is scheduled to be sentenced July 24.

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