Jewish Journal


August 24, 2011

LA DA moves to have committed former priest convicted of molesting children


It’s been a long time since I’ve written about Michael Stephen Baker. The defrocked Catholic priest who sent to prison for molesting boys before I even started The God Blog. But Baker is back.

His prison sentence ended last week, and now Baker is again going to be arraigned—this time in an effort to have him committed indefinitely to a state hospital. As the LA Times reports:

Prosecutors will argue that Baker can be committed under a law that seeks to more stringently keep tabs on sexual offenders and reduce the risk of recidivism, Watson said.

Passed overwhelmingly by voter initiative in 2006, the law mandated evaluations for thousands more sex offenders than in the past to determine whether their conditions warrant hospitalization after criminal sentences have been served.

Lawyers for Baker filed a motion Wednesday to have the petition dismissed. If they are successful, Baker would be released on parole.

Otherwise, a jury of Baker’s peers will decide whether he should be committed. And I don’t think Baker’s peers take kindly to former priests who molested almost two dozen children.

Baker was among the worst offenders in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The sex scandal was costly for the church, financially and reputationally. Cardinal Mahony, under whose leadership abuse went on, has retired. But the archdiocese is still dealing with his tainted legacy.

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