Associated Press [New York NY]
October 14, 2022
A Catholic priest has been convicted of sexual assaulting a 7-year-old boy in 2004 in a Detroit-area church.
A Wayne County jury convicted the Rev. Joseph “Jack” Baker on Thursday on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Baker, 60, gasped as the verdict was read, The Detroit News reported.
Baker was a priest at St. Mary Parish in Wayne when Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged him in July 2019 with sexually abusing a minor.
Prosecutors alleged that Baker raped the boy in a church sacristy when the child was a second-grade student.
The victim, now 26, testified that he didn’t tell anyone about the incident at the time because Baker told him afterward that the sexual assault was “his own sin.”
Baker’s attorney, Patrick Bagley, said he plans to appeal. Baker will face a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 19.
Because of a state law pertaining to the victim’s age at the time of the attack, Baker’s bond has been revoked. He will remain in the Wayne County Jail until sentencing.
Baker had been a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford since 2008. In addition to being pastor at St. Mary Parish in Wayne, he was associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Dearborn and associate pastor at St. Hugo of the Hills Parish in Bloomfield Hills.