Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

and more fun with files

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Oct 12, 2005

Bouncing around the PDFs released by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, we can see that they don't reflect real personnel files, but rather give a career synopsis of various priests in the form of chronologically-ordered postings, treatment periods, and various complaint reports whose wording clearly shows the hand of an attorney. For example, check out this entry for Father Michael Baker:

09/19/86: pursuant to Cardinal Mahony's invitation during a retreat for priests to talk with him about their problems, requests meeting with Cardinal.

Typical file entry, right?

12/22/86: Meets with Cardinal Mahony and Vicar for Clergy Curry to discuss his relationship with two boys from 1978 to 1985.

Well, the Cardinal sent him off to art therapy camp at Jemez Springs. The cure was miraculous, as evidenced by this roster of subsequent parish assignments:

08/01/88: Assigned to Residence at St. Elizabeth Church (Van Nuys), subject to restrictions.
02/24/89: Meeting of Vicar for Clergy, pastor, and Baker to discuss a breach of restriction by Baker at St. Elizabeth's re contact (non-sexual) with a minor.
06/01/91: Assigned to St. Linus Church (Norwalk) as Administrator Pro-Tem.
11/01/91: Assigned to St. Gerard Majella Church (Los Angeles) as Administrator Pro-Tem.
01/11/92: Assigned to St. Mary Church (Palmdale) as Administrator Pro-Tem.
03/15/92: Assigned to St. Lucy Church (Long Beach) as Administrator Pro-Tem.
04/04/92: Assigned to Sacred Heart Church (Lincoln Heights) as Administrator Pro-Tem.
08/01/92: Assigned to Residence at St. Elizabeth, Van Nuys.
01/15/93: Assigned to Residence at St. Columbkille Parish (Los Angeles)...

Sharing his gifts with eight parishes in just five years -- what a guy! -- with four different assignments in 1992 alone, showing the kind of versatility we've come to expect from LA's utility infielders. Baker was finally removed from the priesthood in 2000, after it was known -- and impossible to hide -- that he had molested as many as 10 victims over the previous 20 years. The LA Weekly gave a picture of the endgame two years ago:

In 2000, two brothers from Tucson, Arizona, charged that the Rev. Michael Baker molested them in Arizona, Mexico, Palm Springs and Los Angeles, from 1984 to 1999. Tucson lawyer Lynne Cadigan demanded that Baker respond to the charges, which he did, by calling her and offering $1 million, Cadigan said. Baker had confessed to Mahony to sexually abusing minors back in 1986. "Just don't tell Roger [Mahony]," Baker said, according to Cadigan. "I'm supposed to be staying out of trouble but I'm still doing things I shouldn't do. Roger will be mad if he finds out."

Cadigan advised Baker to get a lawyer. Before long, she was on a plane to Los Angeles, where she met with Baker's lawyer. Soon after, Baker and the archdiocese paid the brothers $1.3 million. The archdiocese paid almost half. Cadigan didn't have to lift a finger.

Oddly enough, the payment to Cadigan that year didn't make it into Baker's file. But this did:

08/31/00: Cardinal Mahony signs Decree Opening Canonical Investigation pertaining to Baker's violation of duty of obedience by performing baptisms.

We are an Easter People.

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