July 8, 2019
LANSING – A sixth priest was charged with criminal sexual conduct by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today as part of her department’s ongoing investigation into clergy abuse within the Catholic Church. Father Joseph (Jack) Baker was arrested this morning in Wayne County by special agents from the Attorney General’s office. He will be arraigned in the 29th District Court in Wayne, Michigan.
Baker was charged with one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree – sexual penetration with a person under 13. Baker has been a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford, MI since 2008. Prior to that Baker was a pastor at St. Mary Parish in Wayne, associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Dearborn, and associate pastor at St. Hugo of the Hills Parish in Bloomfield Hills.
The charge is the result of a tip from the Archdiocese of Detroit, which received the original report and immediately reported it to the lead prosecutor on the Attorney General’s clergy abuse team.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Nessel. “Our clergy abuse investigative team is working day and night to review the hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and files seized from all seven of Michigan’s dioceses last fall. At the same time, we continue to receive calls daily from victims who know we will listen to them, believe in them, and investigate their allegations. They deserve nothing less than our very best.
The Archdiocese of Detroit announced it had restricted Baker from all public ministry pending the outcome of the canonical process. According to a news release issued by the Diocese June 20th, Baker is prohibited from representing himself as a priest, wearing clerical attire or exercising any form of Church ministry.
Baker’s arrest follows Nessel’s May 24th announcement that five former priests had been charged with 21 counts of criminal sexual conduct. The men, who were all priests when the reported crimes were committed, are:
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The Attorney General’s Office does not provide photos of defendants. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office may have a booking photo available.