Sentencing date postponed for former priest convicted of child rape

The Oakland Press [Troy MI]

December 16, 2022

By Aileen Wingblad

For the third time, the sentencing hearing for a former Catholic priest convicted in October of raping a child in 2004 has been changed.

Joseph “Father Jack” Baker,  60, is now scheduled for sentencing by Judge Bridget Hathaway on Feb. 17, 2023 in Wayne County’s 3rd Circuit Court in Detroit. He’s held in the Wayne County Jail, denied bond.

According to a court spokesperson, sentencing was postponed on request of Baker’s defense attorney.

At the conclusion of jury trial in October, Baker was found guilty of first-degree criminal conduct – sexual penetration with a person less than 13 years old.

The assault happened while Baker was pastor of St. Mary Catholic School in Wayne. His victim was a second-grade student there who came forward a few years ago, saying Baker raped him in the church sacristy.

Baker was pastor of St. Mary in Wayne from 1997 to 2008, and from there was assigned as pastor of St. Perpetua Catholic Church in Waterford Township. Following his arrest in 2019, he was suspended, and then in June was informed that his assignment at St. Perpetua had ended.

Baker was charged following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, launched after the victim’s father reported his son’s allegation to the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2019.

The victim, now in his mid-20s, was among those to testify at the trial.