Sentencing delayed for priest convicted of raping child

The Oakland Press [Troy MI]

February 17, 2023

By Aileen Wingblad

Father Joseph ‘Jack’ Baker was church pastor in Wayne and Oakland counties

Sentencing has again been delayed for a Catholic priest convicted last October of raping a child in 2004.

The sentencing hearing for Joseph “Father Jack” Baker, 61, has been moved from Feb. 17 to March 1 in Wayne County’s 3rd Circuit Court in Detroit. Sentencing will be handed down by Judge Bridget Hathaway.

Baker is held in the Wayne County Jail, denied bond. His sentencing hearing has been rescheduled multiple times since his trial concluded Oct. 13, 2022 with a guilty verdict for 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.

Joseph Baker (Wayne County Jail photo
Joseph Baker (Wayne County Jail photo

Aileen Wingblad’s main beat is Oakland County-related crime and court action at the district, state and federal levels. She also covers Michigan’s marijuana industry and other stories of interest to readers.