AG questions why priests released after charges

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As state Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Monday that her office had charged a sixth Michigan priest with sexual assault, she questioned why some already have been released from custody.

“I will say that we’re seeing a pattern of personal bonds being granted in very serious cases where it has not been my experience that I’ve seen personal bonds on those kinds of cases,” Nessel told Target 8.

“I hope that people aren’t getting special consideration just because they happened to have been or currently are members of the clergy,” she added.

On Monday, police arrested Father Joseph Baker, 57, of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit on a charge of raping a victim under the age of 13, early in his ministry. He’s been a priest since 1993, always serving in the Detroit area.

Also on Monday, Nessel’s office said, a judge released the priest on a tether.

Other accused priests, she said, also have been released with low bonds or no bonds at all.

The Detroit archdiocese tipped off the AG about Baker after removing him from public ministry. The archdiocese also released a list of more than 60 Detroit-area clergy with credible allegations of sexually abusing minors over the decades, according to its website. Nearly half of them have died.

Detroit became the third diocese in the state, after Gaylord and Sagi...

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