Michael Stephen Baker, a former Catholic priest accused of molesting numerous children over the past 20 years, was sentenced to 10 years and 4 months in prison by the Los Angeles Superior Court. After only having served one-third of his proposed sentence, Baker was scheduled for parole on August 23, 2011. However, a request filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office may postpone the parole. According to the request, Baker should be placed in a sex offender program at the state hospital in Coalinga to determine if he is a future threat to society. His parole remains in limbo as the court prepares to determine his future.
While Baker has allegedly committed many crimes against humanity, he is currently being detained for a case in which he pleaded guilty on December 3, 2007. The case responsible for Baker’s imprisonment involved two young boys that he molested between 1994 and 1997. According to court documents, the boys were between 14 and 18 at the time of the crimes.
Baker, in association with the Los Angeles archdiocese, was forced to settle with a young boy that he sexually abused while serving as a priest at St. Hilary in Pico Rivera. The settlement witnessed the Catholic Church pay the boy and his family $1.25 million in compensation by the year 2000.
Baker pleaded guilty to an additional 12 felony counts of oral copulation just seven years later. Subsequently, the pedophile priest was sentenced to 10 years and four months in prison, for which he is currently serving.
While Baker has received an unprecedented amount of scrutiny for his acts against humanity, an equal amount has been directed at the Los Angeles Archdiocese for their neglect to properly handle Baker’s case. More specifically, former Archbishop Roger Mahony drew criticism for the way in which he handled Baker’s situation. According to the archdiocese, Baker confessed to Mahony, in 1986, that he had sexual relations with two individual children for seven years. As a result, Mahony sent Baker to receive treatment in New Mexico in 1987.
However, no more than one year later, Mahony knowingly assigned Baker to work with children at other parishes, where he once again committed heinous acts. One can only assume that Mahony’s actions were an attempt to cover up the atrocities that Baker committed so that he may preserve the good name of the church. However, in doing so, Mahony demonstrated a gross neglect for the safety of the boys.
Baker’s problem can be traced back as early as 1974, when the first of his 23 accusers claims to have been a victim of clergy sexual abuse. According to the archdiocese, 23 individuals claim to have been sexually molested by Baker between 1974 and 1999.
The repercussions of his heinous actions are what have landed him in his current situation. However, the severity and frequency of his past accusations have warranted future actions taken by the District Attorney. Baker’s parole is currently in limbo because the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office believes that he is a threat to society. Furthermore, they have filed an official request to postpone Baker’s parole so that he may be placed in a public hospital and obligated to participate in a sex offender program.
Baker is set to appear in a Los Angeles court on October 7, where it will be determined if he needs further treatment at a state hospital.
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