LANSING – A former Dearborn priest has been convicted of criminal sexual conduct by a jury in Wayne County, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on Thursday.
Joseph “Jack” Baker, 60, was convicted of first degree criminal sexual conduct — sexual penetration with a person under 13 — in Detroit’s Third Judicial Circuit Court.
Baker had been a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford since 2008. Prior to that, he was a pastor at St. Mary Parish in Wayne, associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Dearborn (between 1996-97), and associate pastor at St. Hugo of the Hills Parish in Bloomfield Hills.
“I want victims of abuse to know they have an advocate in the Attorney General’s Office,” Nessel said. “We are committed to ensuring that every case of sexual abuse and assault is thoroughly reviewed and that whenever we are able to pursue justice for a victim, we do so aggressively and relentlessly. We must all commit to breaking down the walls of silence that so often surround sexual assault and abuse. Today’s verdict is long-awaited justice.”
The charge against Baker came about as a result of a tip from the Archdiocese of Detroit, which received the original report and immediately reported it to the lead prosecutor on Attorney General Nessel’s clergy abuse team.
The Michigan Department of the Attorney General seized 1.5 million paper documents and 3.5 million electronic documents through search warrants executed in October 2018 as part of its clergy abuse investigation. The Department of Attorney General’s investigation has resulted in criminal charges filed against 11 individuals with ties to the Catholic Church and multiple convictions, including Baker.
Baker was remanded to the Wayne County Jail to await his sentencing scheduled for December 19 at 9 a.m.