Sixth priest charged in statewide clergy abuse investigation

Posted at 11:31 AM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-01 20:23:32-04

(WXYZ) — A sixth priest was charged with criminal sexual conduct as part of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's ongoing investigation into clergy abuse within the Catholic Church.

Father Joseph (Jack) Baker was arrested Monday morning in Wayne County. He was charged with one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree – sexual penetration with a person under 13.

According to a release, Baker has been a pastor at St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford since 2008. Prior to that, Baker was 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.

The Archdiocese of Detroit reported a tip to the lead prosecutor on the investigation, resulting in the charge.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Nessel. “Our clergy abuse investigative team is working day and night to review the hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and files seized from all seven of Michigan’s dioceses last fall. At the same time, we continue to receive calls daily from victims who know we will listen to them, believe in them, and investigate their allegations. They deserve nothing less than our very best.”

Baker’s arrest follows Nessel’s May 24th announcement that five former priests had been charged with 21 counts of criminal sexual conduct. The men, who were all priests when the reported crimes were committed, are:

• 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.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story listed charges against Timothy Michael Crowley, who has sinc had all charges dismissed. Story here.