Michigan AG charges 6th priest with sex abuse
A sixth Catholic priest was charged Monday with criminal sexual conduct by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel as part of an ongoing investigation.
The Rev. Joseph "Jack" Baker was arrested Monday morning in Wayne County by special agents from the Michigan Attorney General's Office. He was arraigned in 29th District Court and given a $500,000 personal bond.
Baker, who was released after the arraignment early Monday afternoon, was ordered by Judge Laura Mack to wear a tether.
Baker is charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct-sexual penetration with a person under the age of 13. His probable cause conference is scheduled for July 18 in 18th District Court in Westland and his preliminary examination is scheduled for July 25, also in 18th District Court.
Mack is recusing herself from further proceedings. In a form filed with 29th District court, she said she was stepping away from the case because of "significant community involvement with the defendant."
Baker has been a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford since 2008. Before that he 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 attorney general's office said the Archdiocese of Detroit received a report regarding Baker and immediately forwarded it to the lead prosecutor on Nessel's clergy abuse team.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Nessel said in a press release Monday. “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.”
According to a news release issued by the archdiocese June 20, 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 24 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 allegedly committed, are:
Timothy Michael Crowley, charged in Washtenaw County with four felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and four felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. Crowley was arraigned June 29 in Washtenaw County. He is scheduled for a probable cause conference July 30.
Neil Kalina, charged in Macomb County with four felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. Kalina was arraigned June 20 in Macomb County. He has a probable cause conference scheduled for July 9.
Vincent DeLorenzo, charged in Genesee County with three felony counts of first- degree criminal sexual conduct and and three felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was arraigned June 18 in Genesee Count and a probable cause conference was scheduled for him for Aug. 1. DeLorenzo is out on bond.
Patrick Casey, charged in Wayne County with one felony county of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He waived his preliminary exam and was scheduled for arraignment July 18 in Wayne County Circuit Court. He also is out on bond
Jacob Vellian, charged with two counts of rape. The Attorney General's office is seeking to have Vellian extradited from India, where he lives.