Metro Detroit priest sentenced in clergy abuse case

CBS News [New York NY]

March 1, 2023


A Southeast Michigan priest is sentenced to at least three years in prison in connection with a clergy abuse investigation, Michigan Attorney General’s Office announced.

In October 2022, the Rev. Joseph “Jack” Baker, 61, was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct – sexual penetration with a person under 13. On Wednesday, he was sentenced to three to 15 years.

Baker, who had been a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford since 2008, previously was a pastor at St. Mary Parish in Wayne, as well as an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Dearborn and at St. Hugo of the Hills Parish in Bloomfield Hills.

Officials say the Archdiocese of Detroit received a report and sent it to the lead prosecutor on Attorney General Dana Nessel’s clergy abuse team.

The AG’s office seized 1.5 million paper documents and 3.5 million electronic documents through search warrants in October 2018, resulting in criminal charges filed against 11 people with ties to the Catholic Church, including Baker.

“My department’s clergy abuse investigation team has worked tirelessly on behalf of survivors in this state to ensure that reported cases of sexual abuse or assault are thoroughly reviewed,” Nessel said in a statement. “We are grateful to have obtained some measure of justice on this matter and many others, further breaking down the walls of silence which often surround sexual assault and abuse.”