The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has filed a request to put former priest and convicted child molester Michael Stephen Baker in a sex offender program at the state hospital in Coalinga, CA after serving out his prison sentence. The action to postpone Baker’s release was taken because the DA believes the former clergy member poses a danger to the public due to the severity of the many crimes he committed over more than two decades. Baker is set to be arraigned in a Los Angeles courtroom on November 9th.
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What’s the problem?
September 25, 2011 – Michael Stephen Baker, the ex-priest and convicted child molester, was originally set to be released last month after serving 30 percent of his 10-year, 4-month sentence, but is instead headed back to courtroom to determine whether he will be placed in a state hospital for an indefinite period of time.
The L.A. County DA’s office filed a request to put Baker in a chronic sex offender program at the state hospital in Coalinga on Aug. 26. In order to be committed, the DA’s office will have to provide evidence of at least two separate psychological reports showing that Baker is likely to offend again if released.
According to DA spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons, the contents of the reports are still unknown because they aren’t public record.
“We are going through the process established under a law. This is all part of the process. I cannot be more specific because it involves matters that have to be litigated,” Gibbons said.
Baker will be returned to an LA County court on October 7th for a hearing on a media request, and will then be arraigned on November 9th.
The charges that originally sent the former clergy member to prison involve two teenage boys he abused between 1994 and 1997. He met the first victim when he was a priest at St. Hillary in Pico Rivera and the other at St. Columbkille in LA.
In 2000, Baker and the Los Angeles archdiocese settled with the first victim for $1.25 million. Then in 2007, Baker was found guilty of 12 additional felony counts of oral copulation on a minor, and was sentenced to 10 years and four months in state prison.
Former Archbishop Roger Mahony has come under fire for the way he dealt with the situation. In 1986, Baker reportedly admitted to Mahony that he had had an inappropriate relationship with two boys for at least seven years. In response, Mahony sent Baker for treatment in New Mexico in 1987. One year later, however, Baker was reassigned to work at other parishes, but instead of being rehabilitated, he flagrantly molested boys again.
In total, ‘Father Mike’ has been accused of molesting at least 23 different boys dating back to the early 1970’s. In 2003, Baker was charged with molesting Matthew Severson at St. Hillary, St. Paul of the Cross in La Mirada. According to reports, Baker began abusing Severson when he was eight in 1975 until he was nearly 20 in 1986.
But in a highly controversial decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the state cannot retroactively erase statutes of limitations, so the case – along with all other similar cases – was dismissed.
Then in 2006, prosecutors filed charges against Baker for molesting the victims he met at St. Hillary and the Los Angeles church. Baker was successfully convicted and served a third of his sentence at the California Correctional Institute in Tehachapi. But instead of being released, Baker ended up getting transferred to the LA Twin Towers Correctional Facility, where he remains without bail.
In response to the latest developments, the Los Angeles archdiocese issued the following statement:
“As Michael Baker’s future is again the focus of court proceedings, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles recalls the terrible harm he inflicted upon his many victims. Mr. Baker repeatedly lied to his superiors, therapists and friends, and manipulated treatment protocols in order to continue to prey upon young people.”
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