Sixth priest is arrested, charged with criminal sexual conduct by AG's office
A sixth priest was arrested on Monday morning by special agents from Attorney General Dana Nessel's office as part of Nessel's ongoing investigation into clergy abuse in the Catholic church.
Father Joseph Baker was charged with one count of criminal sexual conduct first degree (sexual penetration with a person under 13). His arraignment will be in the 29th District Court in Wayne.
Nessel says this is "just the tip of the iceberg."
"The thing that we see time and again is powerful institutions that are more interested in protecting their brand than they are in assisting people who are victims," says Nessel.
The Archdiocese of Detroit says it has banned Baker from representing himself as a priest since June 20th.
Monsignor Michael Bugarin, member of the review board for the Archdiocese of Detroit, says the archdiocese received a tip about Baker and immediately reported it to the local prosecutor’s office and the attorney general’s office.
“I always indicate to people just trust the process; allow the process to work, whether that's the civil process or the church law process,” he says.
Nessel's office says Baker has been a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford, MI since 2008. Baker was also 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.
Baker's parishes have either declined to comment or have not responded to interview requests.
Baker's arrest follows criminal sexual conduct charges for five other priests that the attorney general's office announced on May 24th:
• Timothy Michael Crowley, charged in Washtenaw County with four felony counts of CSC 1 and four felony counts of CSC 2. Crowley was arraigned June 29 in Washtenaw County; a probable cause conference is scheduled for July 30.
• Neil Kalina, charged in Macomb County with four felony counts of CSC 2. Kalina was arraigned June 20 in Macomb County; a probable cause conference is scheduled for July 9.
• Vincent DeLorenzo, charged in Genesee County with three felony counts of CSC 1 and three felony counts of CSC 2. DeLorenzo was arraigned in Genesee County on June 18; his probable cause conference is scheduled for August 1. DeLorenzo is out on bond.
• Patrick Casey, charged in Wayne County with one felony county of CSC 3. Casey waived his preliminary exam and is scheduled for arraignment July 18 in Wayne County 3rd Circuit Court. Casey is also out on bond.
• Jacob Vellian, charged with two counts of rape. The AG’s office is pursuing extradition of Vellian, who lives in India.