|Transcript: Victim Impact Statements from Dec. 3 Sentencing of Michael Stephen Baker
City of Angels
December 4, 2007
Rough transcripts of victim impact statements from Matt Severson, Mary Grant, Vicki Martin, Unnamed Child, Virginia Zamora, Frank Zamora, and James Brown who spoke to the ex-Father Mike at his sentencing hearing in Los Angeles Monday. The ex-priest preyed on at least 15 parishes between Southern California and Arizona in the eighties and nineties, continuing to create victims long after he'd admitted to and been treated for child molestation. — ke
MATT SEVERSON: "I'd be getting ready to say 10 AM Mass and there'd be a 20 dollar bill on the pillow next to me"
In 1976 Michael Stephen Baker entered my life. I was nine years old. He paid a lot of attention to me and the other young boys, tickling us. His tickling felt different to me, he'd go close to the groin, but I didn't say anything.
Father Mike became more and more a part of our lives. He became close to my parents, and offered to baby sit —
I remember the first time, he took off my pajamas during the night, and he'd have his mouth close to my hear and whisper oh Matt how I love you. The touching escalated to masturbation and oral sex.
When I questioned him about it, he rationalized it as just his being too touchy feely and "that's just the way I express my feelings."
He turned it around to where it was me. I was too sensitive
My mother was in his grip and would listen to what he said about me wouldn't listen to what I said about him — then he would tell her things and she in turn would rage at me.
On weekends I felt like a prostitute. I'd be getting ready to say 10 AM Mass and there'd be a 20 dollar bill on the pillow next to me.
My hair started falling out in clumps.
My mom's closeness to Father Mike strained my parents. Soon Dad left and that only pulled mom and me tighter to Father Mike.
Just staying around the rectories on weekends after being molested, I was denied a normal adolescence. My grades suffered, I became depressed. My senior year in high school suicide became a viable option.
But at the end of my senior year, I started pulling away from Baker, and severely compromised my relationship with my mother — she even resorted to violence to get me to spend time with him.
After high school I was able to distance myself from Baker and my family and "made a semblance of normal life" for myself hundreds of miles away
I was still under the impression it was all my fault. Father Mike was still sending me checks in the mail. It made me still feel complicit and guilty
All aspects of feelings about sex got messed up for me, in fact they still are. I went into drugs, drinking, increasingly anonymous and risky sexual behavior. I still have nightmares, it's hard to express the destructive impact Baker has had on my life.
But I'm grateful that at least I am able to be here and so many others aren't.
Baker is going to prison. It's a symbolic victory for us. He's only being arraigned on crimes against two victims, there are dozens of others like myself for which he'll never be held accountable.
If a criminal case were pursued by all of us, he'd be in prison the rest of his life. But now as a 60 year old priest, going in for a few years will not be good. This is a day I'll never forget.
MARY GRANT: 10 Years is Not Enough
I'm here to say a few words on behalf of survivors of Baker and part of a support group we all belong to. First thank you to the DA's office for pursuing these charges.
The lives won't be repaired, they won't get their childhoods back.
Ten years is not enough.
Nevertheless every day he's behind bars another day, he can't hurt another child
Baker is not being sentenced for all his crimes, but a fraction of them. At this point with him being sentenced, the five and a half years these victims went through didn't have to happen. It didn't have to happen.
VICKI MARTIN: Baker should spend the rest of life in prison with Cardinal Mahony as his cellmate
I'm here to speak for Victim David B whose daughter went into labor this morning so he can't be here.
Father Baker is a monster. He posed himself as a man of God and his intentions were evil. He robbed children of innocence — in case of David D he wants the court to know this fact.
Baker forced him, in a motel room, sodomized him pushing his face into pillows to muffle David's screams.
David wanted to scream at Baker here now in court.
People are told to forgive, but forgiveness a cheap grace when the person to be pardoned is not sorry.
He's only sorry he got caught.
David B also cannot forgive Baker for starting David on a road of drugs, alcohol depression, PTSD, and an inability to obtain or keep employment.
I received calls from David in middle of the night, he'd call me with nightmares of Baker on top of him pushing his penis in his rectum.
Baker is a dangerous man to any civilized persons, a danger to children
Michael Baker should spend the rest of life in prison with Cardinal Mahony as his cellmate.
At least we know for a few years children will be safer as Baker will be in jail. I've spoken to so many of these victims. I have such contempt and hatred for this man. I don't believe God would even forgive this man.
I don't think anyone can understand the harm he's done and the pain he's caused.
A CHILD: We will never forgive you
You have ruined not only my life but my father's life and there's no way that we'll ever forgive you. You have caused my father to be in a gang, do drugs and become an alcoholic. We will never forgive you.
VIRGINIA ZAMORA: Look me straight in the face, don't hide behind your attorney.
Mr. Baker, I have no words to call you a father or a priest. You took an oath, you knew right from wrong better than we did.
Look me straight in the face, don't hide behind your attorney. It's the same thing all over again.
You know who I am. I am your worst nightmare. I sentence you to live in prison. You know better than the rest of the people.
Do you remember me? Yes you do. I give you life. I do not want to be in your shoes or your attorneys' shoes, because they helped you get the plea.
In my book you're guilty of all charges. If I did your crime I'd be in prison. You think because you wore a costume that you were immune, no. And that's all it is is a costume.
You made the children suffer, you took my life away.
You're not even worth the spit on the sidewalk and you think because you go in there and grin, nobody will touch you? I'm sorry, mister, you know where you're going after here.
You're going right to hell with Satan You and the rest of your pact. May god have mercy on your soul.
FRANK ZAMORA: It's better you put a milestone around your neck
I'm Dominic Zamora's dad here to say a few words more. I just want to say. why did you ruin so many lives, so many marriages? You broke up and destroyed so many kids' lives, especially the ones that committed suicide.
Here I have a picture of you holding my son. I have a picture here of you in my home because we invited you because we trusted you. We thought the safest place for our children would be in the church.
My son only has 10 percent of his liver, we don't know if he's going to live until next year, he's living day-to-day and it's all because of you.
You made my son lose his faith and as it says in the Bible, it's better you put a milestone around your neck
JAMES BROWN: 20 years past and he finally started to talk about what happened
I've been a friend of Michael, a victim of Michael Baker, for 24 years. Mike and I met at La Mirada High School and Mike was real passionate about becoming a deputy sheriff. He even got me into the explorer department.
Mike would have made a great deputy and it's ironic that the LA County Sheriff and DA's office are the ones who put this man here today and now he's going to go to prison.
I agree that Baker should spend more time in prison.
As I was growing up with Mike, I noticed he was having a lot of social problems. I'm a paramedic now and I always knew Mike had a drive to help people but he had a problem. There was something he was hiding.
Mike got into drugs, it affected his friendships, 20 years past, and he finally started to talk about what had happened. He started to fix himself. He's getting help
This is the first time I've met this man Baker. The John Does that were involved, it took a lot of guts. I hope everybody affected by Baker can get peace and help.
You're going to have to meet your maker.
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