January 20, 2006

Ex-Priest Is Arrested in Abuse Case


By Jean Guccione and Richard Winton, Times Staff Writers

January 20, 2006

A former priest allowed to remain in ministry after telling Cardinal Roger M. Mahony that he had molested children was arrested Thursday on suspicion of committing lewd acts with a child in the 1990s, with deputies taking him into custody as he disembarked from a plane at Los Angeles International Airport.

The arrest caps a four-year effort by prosecutors to build a case against Michael Stephen Baker, who authorities said ranks among the most prolific alleged abusers in the church. More than 20 people told the Los Angeles Archdiocese that Baker had molested them during his 26 years as a priest.

Mahony has said that Baker's case is one "that troubles me the most."

Baker told Mahony in 1986 that he had molested children, according to the archdiocese and Baker. Mahony did not alert police, but sent Baker for treatment, after which the priest was assigned to a series of nine other parishes.

Posted by kshaw at January 20, 2006 06:34 AM