Jury convicts former Wayne priest Fr. Baker of sexually assaulting a minor

Fr. Jack Baker, former pastor of St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford, was convicted Oct. 13 by a Wayne County jury of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old boy in 2004, when he served at St. Mary Parish in Wayne. Fr. Baker was sentenced March 1 to three to 15 years in prison. His attorney said he plans to appeal the verdict. (Archdiocese of Detroit photo)

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a new sentencing date.

DETROIT — A Wayne County jury convicted Fr. Jack Baker of first-degree criminal sexual conduct related to a 2004 incident involving a 7-year-old boy.

The guilty verdict was handed down Oct. 13 in the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan following a trial in which prosecutors from the Michigan Attorney General’s office said Fr. Baker, then-pastor of St. Mary Parish in Wayne, assaulted the boy — who is now 26 — on church grounds.

Patrick Bagley, Fr. Baker’s attorney, said his client plans to appeal the verdict. Fr. Baker will remain in Wayne County Jail until he is sentenced Nov. 2 and faces several years in prison.

Regarding the trial, Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron said, “I have followed the proceedings closely and am aware of the wounds experienced by all involved. May they receive the healing power of Christ in prayer.”

Fr. Baker, 60, was arrested and charged in July 2019 after an allegation of sexual abuse was reported to the Archdiocese of Detroit. He was immediately restricted from his ministry as then-pastor of St. Perpetua Parish in Waterford, where he had served since 2008, in accord with the norms of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, also known as the Dallas Charter.

The archdiocese reported the allegation to the Michigan Attorney General’s office, which is conducting a statewide investigation into sexual abuse and misconduct in Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses. Fr. Baker has not been allowed to present himself publicly as a priest since.

Fr. Baker, who studied at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, was ordained in 1993. He spent time as associate pastor of St. Hugo of the Hills Parish in Bloomfield Hills (1993-96) and Sacred Heart Parish in Dearborn (1996-97), simultaneously serving as campus minister at Wayne State University's medical school campus from 1996-97.

From 1997 to 2008, Fr. Baker was pastor of St. Mary Parish in Wayne, and since 2008 had been pastor of St. Perpetua in Waterford. He also spent time as administrator of SS. Kevin and Norbert Parish (2003-04) and Holy Family Parish (2003-08), both in Inkster, and St. Benedict Parish in Waterford (2011).

Individuals with knowledge of sexual abuse by clergy or other Church representatives are urged to contact local law enforcement and/or the Michigan Attorney General’s Office at (844) 324-3374 or [email protected].

Individuals also may contact the Archdiocese of Detroit by visiting protect.aod.org calling the toll-free, 24/7 victim assistance line at (866) 343-8055 or by emailing [email protected].

There are no time limits or restrictions on individuals wishing to report abuse.


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