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Accused California Priests: Father Michael Baker

A recent Associated Press investigation reveals that nearly 1,700 priests and clergy members are still serving the Roman Catholic Church without close supervision, even after child sexual abuse allegations. Moreover, the investigators could not trace an additional 76 men of the cloth.

Child molestation allegations are not new, particularly in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Among those accused is Father Michael Baker. Fr. Baker was an energetic priest who developed close ties with the younger congregants in his church. Following some of his indiscretions, Fr. Baker allegedly confessed to various incidents to Cardinal Roger Mahony, the acting Archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011, while at a spiritual retreat in 1986. Cardinal Mahony sent Fr. Baker away for therapy at Foundation House instead of calling the authorities. He even allowed him to continue serving in the ministry.

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Assignments

During his time as a priest, Fr. Baker was assigned the following roles:

1974-1976

St. Joan of Arc, Los Angeles, CA
1974-1976

1976-1982

St. Paul of the Cross, La Mirada, CA
1976-1982

1982-1986

St. Hilary’s, Pico Rivera, CA
1982-1986

1986-1986

Notre Dame University, South Bend, IN
1986-1986

1987

St. Catherine of Laboure, Torrance, CA
1987

1987

Servants of the Paraclete, Jemez Springs, NM
1987

1987

St. Elisabeth’s, Van Nuys, CA
1987

1987-1988

St. Thomas the Apostle, Los Angeles, CA
1987-1988

1988- 1993

St. Elisabeth’s, Van Nuys, CA
1988- 1993

1982

St. Lucy’s, Long Beach, CA
1982

1982

Sacred Heart, Lincoln Heights, CA
1982

1993- 1987

St. Columbkille, Los Angeles CA
1993- 1987

1996

Office of Vicar for Clergy, Los Angeles, CA
1996

1997-2000

St. Camillus De Lellis Center for Pastoral Care, L.A County
1997-2000
St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church, La Mirada, CA
St. Bernard, Los Angeles, CA
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Life and Charges

Fr. Baker became a priest after his ordination in 1974 and was assigned to multiple parishes through the year 2000. During his time at the pulpit, Fr. Baker was accused of molesting 23 victims. In 2007, Fr. Baker was formally charged with sexually abusing two boys.

In 2020, a 32-year-old man filed a lawsuit against Fr. Baker for a sexual assault he faced from 1993 and 1997 when he was aged six to ten years old. The suit also includes Cardinal Mahony due to his inaction after knowing Fr. Baker had previously abused members of his congregation.

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Punishment

Fr. Baker was laicized in 2000 after continuous allegations against him for sexual abuse. In 2007, Fr. Baker was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison for his assault on two boys. He was later released in 2011 on parole due to time already served. A year later, authorities arrested Fr. Baker after violating his parole terms and sending him back to jail.

In 2013, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles paid out $9.9 million in settlements to four of Father Baker’s victims.

How We Can Help

Herman Law is a California-based law practice representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy members. Contact our offices if you or someone you know has a claim against a clergy member. We’re here to help you find the justice you deserve.