[DPS == Department of Public Safety (University Police)]
[SSRR == Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities]
December and January: Baker transmits e-mail messages to a man in Ontario describing the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a woman.
1/9/95 The story in question posted to alt.sex.stories
1/19/95 A 16 year old girl in Moscow reads the story, then tells her father, who tells a Michigan alumnus, who notifies the University.
1/20/95 DPS officers contact Baker. Baker waives his Miranda rights and admits to writing and posting the stories. DPS officers search Baker's room and account with permission, finding an unpublished story and the e-mail conversations.
2/2/95 University President Duderstadt suspends Baker.
2/9/95 FBI arrests Baker on basis of stories and e-mail. Bail is denied.
2/10/95 After a detention hearing, Baker is again denied bail. A defense appeal for bail bond is denied. Pre-trial motions scheduled for 2/17/95.
Detroit Free Press: "Debate between free speech and whether it's a threat for the woman's safety." --Maryanne George
WDIV-4 TV Detroit: "It also goes to the issue of what constitutes free speech and what constitutes unreasonable threats." --Paul Manzella
"People who make threats in society are always a concern to people who don't make threats." --Manzella
Spin: "fantasy" --Detroit Free Press
"sexually violent fiction" --New York Times
"cyber-threats" --USA Today
...Baker's attorney, Douglas Mullkoff, said the detention of his client is unwarranted.
"The court is presuming that he is guilty," Mullkoff said. "I respectfully disagree with every word the judge said. Mr. Baker was writing fiction in a fiction area of the Internet."
During Baker's appeal hearing Friday afternoon, Mullkoff drew a similar picture. "We have a fantasy writer's workshop going on here," he said. "That is the Internet."
...U.S. Attorney Ken Chadwell entered six documents into evidence as part of the case against Baker. Three of the documents were stories that Baker had posted on the Internet, two were batches of e-mail messages to and from Gonda, and one, a previously unreleased document, was an incomplete story that DPS officers discovered in Baker's East Quad dorm room.
FBI Special Agent Greg Stejskal, the only witness to testify at the Friday hearings, said the incomplete story named the same female University student and posed a further threat to her safety.
"The story involves Mr. Baker abducting the female student and taking her to a secluded place off of Route 23 in Ann Arbor.," Stejskal said. "He tells her to disrobe, to take a toolbox from his car and then uses the tools to torture her."
Baker, in his unfinished story, describes the abduction in detail.
"I plan it well," Baker wrote. "It will be my first kidnapping; my first real rape of a pretty young girl. My first experimentation with all the devices of pain I had thought up before. I obsessed about my target more than any other girl on campus."
Baker's mother, Vilma Baker, said she was shocked after watching her son handcuffed and taken out of the courtroom by U.S. Marshals.
"The judge must have woken up this morning and thought he was a psychiatrist," said Mrs. Baker, a creative writing teacher in Ohio. "While his writing is alarming and I don't particularly like my son's genre; then again I don't like Stephen King or sitcoms. It was just fantasy."
But Chadwell said Baker's stories went beyond being creative. ..."There is a natural progression in these cases," Chadwell said. "He was actually talking about taking action in things he could do to women. He writes in a message to Gonda that 'just thinking about it anymore doesn't do the trick. I need to DO IT.'"
...The letters themselves sent mixed messages. "Sometimes, I'll see a pretty one out in the quad and think 'Go on Jake, it'd be easy.' But the fear of getting caught always stays my hand," Baker wrote to Gonda on Dec. 9.
"Sorry, can't come up with an ending to that Asian story yet. I will soon though, hang in there."
U.S. Attorney Ken Chadwell is pushing for an early indictment of Baker. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Defense attorney Douglas Mullkoff is appealing the no-bond ruling in the 6th U.S. circuit court in Cincinatti. He expects the appeal (for bail) to be approved, but the next step may be the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Ontario Provincial Police deny having been notified of the case and are not, in fact, looking for Arthur Gonda.
The President suspended Baker with the knowledge of Baker's e-mail. Before suspending him, Assistant General Counsel Daniel Sharphorn and Director of Housing Public Affairs Alan Levy asked Baker to withdraw from the University. Vince Keenan, chair of the Michigan Student Assembly Students' Rights Commission, said that Baker would be difficult to charge under the SSRR, and that he suspected that the President summarily suspended him because he knew that the SSRR charges wouldn't stick.
After repeated press contacts, Jane Doe has requested that the press stop pestering her.
..."This case definitely has First Amendment ramifications," said Howard Simon, executive director of the Michigan ACLU. "His stories may have been disgusting and vile, but I have seen nothing that would appear to be a threat to any person.
"If Mr. Baker had sent a letter to the woman he named in his story, or had he slipped something under her door or e-mailed her a threatening message, the there may have been something, but it would be a civil suit brought by the woman.
"The germane issue is: Is the FBI going to dictate what the First Amendment is going to look like in cyberspace? Will people be prosecuted for putting pornography and disgusting stories on the Internet in places set aside for them? It is not the FBI's place to be writing the First Amendment over again."...
An editorial letter in the Daily reports that Baker put a disclaimer and warning about the content of his story at the top of his post.
Several news sources, including the Daily, Free Press, and local TV stations, have done background checks on Baker, but nothing ominous has surfaced and the accounts seem to be hearsay anyway. High school friends, etc., told a great deal of personal information about Mr. Baker, but nothing I would consider worth the trouble of retyping.
I will be disconnected from the net for about a week, so I will be unable to report the status of the Friday probable cause hearing, the bail appeal to the circuit court, or the results of the grand jury investigation. Again, others are welcome to follow up on these stories.
If someone has the story in question, I am interested in obtaining it and making it available on a WWW site. I would prefer that all references to the woman's name be changed to Jane Doe, so that no one comes asking me for her name. I would certainly do it myself before making it publicly available.
| Peter J. Swanson | firstname.lastname@example.org |
| PhD Candidate | controls specialist |
| Electrical Engineering:Systems | impact, chaotic motion, |
| University of Michigan | vibratory part orientation |