Another Conviction for Michigan Attorney General in Clergy Abuse Case
(For Immediate Release October 14, 2022)
Yet another priest has been criminally charged and convicted in Michigan thanks to the ongoing Attorney General investigation into clergy abuse. We are grateful to the survivors who came forward, the jurors who listened to and validated their testimony, and especially to the attorney general and her team for getting justice for the victims.
In Detroit's 3rd Judicial Circuit Court, Joseph "Jack" Baker, 60, was found guilty of Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree. Since 2008, Baker had served as the priest of St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford, Michigan. Prior to that, Baker served as associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Dearborn, associate priest at St. Hugo of the Hills Parish in Bloomfield Hills, and pastor at St. Mary Parish in Wayne. Thanks to Attorney General Dana Nessel, we believe children are now safer with Baker behind bars.
We especially appreciate A.G. Nessel for diligently informing the public about her investigation. Many different attorneys general across the country have informed their citizens that investigations have been launched, but very few have been as transparent and open as in Michigan. We recognize and applaud A.G. Nessel for being open with the survivors in her state about the status of her ongoing investigation. We are aware that many survivors across the country have come forward with reports only to receive radio silence in return.
Now that this priest has been convicted, we call on church officials from the Archdiocese of Detroit to use every resource available to inform parishioners at every location where Baker worked. They should use parish bulletins, pulpit announcements, and diocesan websites to let parents and parishioners know that there was an active abuser in their communities and should encourage anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered abuse by Fr. Baker to come forward and make a report to police. The secular justice system has done their job, now it is time for the church to do theirs.
Above all, we hope that this conviction will give future survivors the confidence to come forward and denounce crimes, no matter how distant in the past they may have occurred. We also hope that anyone who witnessed or suspected sexual abuse will come forward and make a report to law enforcement, family members, a trusted friend, or a support network like ours.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager, (267-261-0578, [email protected]) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]) Nadja Tirrell, SNAP Leader - Lansing (810 874-9620, [email protected]) Nancy Crabbs, SNAP Leader - Grand Rapids-West Michigan (616-514-7973,[email protected])
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is www.snapnetwork.org)