Assignment Record – Rev. Michael Stephen Baker

Summary of Case: Rev. Michael Stephen Baker has been called by authorities one of the Los Angeles archdiocese's most prolific child molesters, with estimates of at least 23-28 victims, one of whom is known to have been as young as age 5. Baker told Cardinal Mahony in 1986 that he had sexually abused children. Mahony sent Baker to treatment, then allowed him to return to ministry. Baker is accused of molesting many more children after 1986. He was removed from active ministry in early 2000, when the archdiocese learned of a pending lawsuit against him. He was defrocked in December of that same year. Baker pleaded guilty in 2007 to the sexual abuse of two young brothers, and was sentenced to 10 years and 4 months in prison. He was released early, in October 2011. Within weeks he was arrested on a parole violation. In August 2012 he was arrested again when caught violating parole. Two more cases against Baker were scheduled to go to trial in November 2012.

Ordained: 1974
Incardinated: Los Angeles
Defrocked: 2002


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes

June 1974

Los Angeles archbishop was Timothy Manning (1970-1985).

June 1976 St. Joan of Arc Los Angeles CA 3/3, 2/2 St. Joan of Arc's had a school with 281-284 students.
June 1976 Jully 1982 St. Paul of the Cross

La Mirada

Baker was charged in 2002 with molesting an altar boy during his time at St. Paul's. The case was thrown out in 2003 due to a Supreme Court ruling on the statute of limitations. The abuse is said to have begun when the boy was 7 years-old, continuing until the boy was 14.

CA 2/2 St. Paul's had a school with 317-296 students.

July 1982

Manning was succeeded by Roger Michael Mahony (1985-2011)

1986 St. Hilary's

Pico Rivera

Baker was accused in a 2000 lawsuit of sexually abusing two boys, who were 5 and 7 year old brothers, beginning at St. Hilary's in 1984, and continuing until 1999. The boys' family moved to Mexico in 1986, but Baker flew them over the years to L.A., Palm Springs, and Arizona. Baker also arranged for the family to move to Tucson, AZ, and visited frequently.

CA 2/3 In residence.

St. Hilary's had a school with 311-405 students.

The brothers sued and received a confidential settlement from the archdiocese in 2000. The boys' attorney said Baker confessed to her that he had "had sex" with many children in the United States, Mexico, Thailand and Nepal.

Aug.1,1986 Dec. 1986 Notre Dame University South Bend IN continuing education student Per news accounts, Baker went to Notre Dame on sabbatical.
Jan.1, 1987   St. Catherine of Laboure Torrance CA 3/5

St. Catherine's had a school with 482 students.

Baker was assigned to St. Catherine's in May 1986, and was to start there in Jan. 1987, after a sabbatial.

Baker has stated that he told Mahony in Dec. 1986 that he had sexually abused children, and that the archdiocesan attorney asked if the police should be called. Baker said Mahony responded, "No, no, no.... . "

Jan.1, 1987 June 22, 1987 Servants of the Paraclete Jemez Springs NM patient

Baker was sent to this NM treatment facility for pedophile priests.

Mahony allowed Baker to return to ministry in the archdiocese, restricting him from one-on-one contact with minors. Baker violated the restrictions three times, yet was kept in ministry.

Baker went on to molest many more children. There were 23 known accusers by 2004, with estimates by sheriff's detectives in 2007 that there were up to 28 victims.

June 22,1987 Aug. 1, 1987 St. Elisabeth's Van Nuys CA temporary stay  
Sept. 1, 1987 July 31,1988 Catholic Charities     Commission on Aging  
Sept. 1, 1987 1988 St. Thomas the Apostle Los Angeles CA 4/4 In residence. St. Thomas' had a school with 320 students.
1988 1993 St. Elisabeth's Van Nuys CA

5/5, 2/2

Baker is noted to be "in residence" here in the 1990 and 1993 Directories.

Baker was assigned to work with retired priests.

St. Elizabeth's had a school with 343-319 students.
June 1, 1991   St. Linus Norwalk CA Administrator Pro-Tem This assignment is per news accounts.
Nov. 1, 1991   St. Gerard Majella Los Angeles CA Administrator Pro-Tem This assignment is per news accounts.
Jan. 11, 1992   St. Mary's Palmdale CA Administrator Pro-Tem This assignment is per news accounts.
March 15,1992   St. Lucy's Long Beach CA Administrator Pro-Tem This assignment is per news accounts.
April 4, 1992   Sacred Heart Lincoln Heights CA Administrator Pro-Tem This assignment is per news accounts.
Jan. 15, 1993 1997 St. Columbkille

Los Angeles

Baker was charged in Jan. 2007 with sexually abusing a St. Columbkille boy, beginning in 1995 . Baker is said to have given the boy hot chocolate, then molesting him after the boy fell asleep. He is also said to have given the boy a ring with a cross emblazoned on a red stone to symbolize their "special friendship", pricking the boy's finger and his own, pressing the fingers together and saying the two were "joined for life".


2/3, 2/2, 3/3

Administrator Pro-Tem

Baker is referred to as "Monsignor" in the 1994-1997 Directories.

St. Columbkille had a school with 290-203 students, and a CCD program 1995-1997 with 115-460 students.

The archdiocese claimed in 1996 that the boy and his mother and sister denied he had been abused. In fact, the real victim and family were never located or interviewed. The 2007 charges were brought after a detective located the actual victim, and his sister and mother. The young man thanked the detective for "never giving up" and said he would never have come forward.

July 1, 1993 1996 Office of Vicar for Clergy Los Angeles CA Ministry to retired priests.  
Aug. 1, 1996 Dec. 31, 1996       Sabbatical This is per news accounts.
March 1, 1997 April 18, 2000 St. Camillus De Lellis Center for Pastoral Care/L.A. County/University of Southern CA Hospital Los Angeles CA 4/5, 4/4 Chaplain Baker is not indexed beyond the 2001 Directory. He was removed from ministry in early 2000 when the archdiocese learned of preparation for a lawsuit with claims against Baker. He was defrocked in December 2000.
2000 2007     CA  

Baker was to stand trial in 2003 on charges of molesting a boy, but the case was thrown out due to a Supreme Court ruling regarding the statute of limitations. Baker had been charged with over a dozen crimes against boys, but all of those cases were thrown out due to the ruling.

Mahony apologized publicly in 2004 for his mishandling of Baker. Prosecutors had to fight to get Baker's personnel file, which archdiocesan officials would not release.

Baker was arrested Jan. 20, 2006 for the past sexual abuse of a young boy. He was taken into custody at the airport upon arriving from a trip to Thailand and Nepal. The accuser was one of two brothers who received a secret settlement from the archdiocese in 2000.

In Dec. 2007, Baker pleaded guilty to molesting two boys, and was sentenced to 10 years and 4 months in prison.

2007 Oct. 2011 Prison   CA inmate On Jan. 25, 2010, Mahony was deposed regarding his handling of Baker. Previously deposed were former Vicar for Priests Bishop John J. Curry (1986-1990), and past review board president, Judge Richard P. Byrne.
Oct. 2011 Sept. 2012     CA  

Baker was released from prison on parole in Oct. 3, 2011.

Just a few weeks later, on Nov. 2, 2011, Baker was arrested at a Costa Mesa motel where he had been living, for violating parole. Police responded when the GPS device Baker was required to wear showed he had gone within 50 yards of a Catholic grade school. As a sex offender, he was not permitted to be within 100 yards of a school.

He was again arrested in Aug. 2012 for when parole officers found him next to a pool where children were swimming, at a CA resort. He was known to be in jail as of Sept. 11, 2012.

Two more cases against Baker were scheduled to go to trial in November 2012.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1975-2001)

Cardinal Mahony Kept Cleric's Abuse Secret for 16 Years, By Glenn F. Bunting, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2002
4 Cases Provide a Glimpse of How Archdiocese Responded , Father Michael S. Baker, Abuser Received New Assignment After Counseling, By Glenn F. Bunting, Ralph Frammolino, and Richard Winton, LA Times, August 18, 2002
Priests Colluded in Sex Abuse, Suit Claims, Dec. 18, 2003
L.A. Archdiocesan Report, Feb. 17, 2004
ADDENDUM TO THE REPORT TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD, [Archdiocese of Los Angeles], October 12, 2005
Ex-Priest Is Arrested in Abuse Case, By Jean Guccione and Richard Winton, KTLA [Los Angeles CA], January 20, 2006
Church to Settle with 45 Accusers, By John Spano, Paul Pringle and Jean Guccione, Los Angeles Times, December 2, 2006
LA Times Database, April 20, 2006
Former Priest to Appear in Court, By Jessica Garrison and John Spano, Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles CA], December 12, 2006
Preliminary Hearing Is Scheduled for Former Priest, Michael Baker, KNX, December 12, 2006
Ex-Priest to Face More Charges, Prosecutor Says, By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles CA], December 13, 2006
New Abuse Charges Filed against Priest, Associated Press, carried in Contra Costa Times, January 4, 2007
Prosecutors File New Molestation Charges against Former Priest, By John Spano, Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2007
Arraignment Postponed in LA Church Abuse Case, Lompoc Record [Los Angeles CA], January 5, 2007
Ex-Priest Says California Law Violates the Rights of Accused Gay Pedophiles, By John Spano, Los Angeles Times[California], March 7, 2007
It's Discrimination!, California Catholic Daily [California], March 9, 2007
Former Priest Pleads Not Guilty to Child Molestation Charges, Associated Press, carried in Monterey Herald, March 16, 2007
$660-Million Settlement in Priest Abuses, By Joe Mozingo and John Spano, Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles CA], July 15, 2007
Former L.A. Priest Accused of Sex Abuse Eying Plea Deal, By Andrew Glazer, Union-Tribune, July 30, 2007
Popular Ex-Priest Hid Dark Side, By Ruby Gonzales, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, November 17, 2007
Fallen Priest to Face Charges of Molestation, Victim's Father: 'He Ruined So Many Lives', ABC 7, November 18, 2007
Notorious LB Priest Gets 10 Years, By Will Swaim, The District, December 3, 2007
Ex-Priest Pleads Guilty in Molestation Scandal, By John Spano, Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2007
Baker Pleads Guilty, Ex-Priest Draws 10-Year Sentence for Crimes, By Ruby Gonzales, Whittier Daily News, December 4, 2007
" The Horrific Damage He Has Caused", California Catholic Daily, December 5, 2007
A Diligent Detective Traces an Abusive Priest's Victim, By John Spano, Los Angeles Times, December 9, 2007
Retired Judge's Recusal Will Delay Release of L.A. Clergy Sex-abuse Files, By Duke Helfand and Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2008
How L.A. Archdiocese Mishandled a Pedophile Priest, By Barbara Bradley, NPR, April 23, 2010
Man Files Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit in Los Angeles, Mercury News, June 4, 2010
New Testimony Sheds Light on Mahony's Role in Notorious Priest Abuse Case [updated], By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2010
The California Clergy Sex Abuse Powder Keg, By Joelle Casteix, Worthy Adversary, May 9, 2011
LA DA Moves to Have Committed Former Priest Convicted of Molesting Children, By Brad A. Greenberg, Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, August 25, 2011
Pedophile Ex-Priest Faces Court Date, Los Angeles Times, August 25, 2011
Former LA Priest Arrested for Parole Violation, Sacramento Bee, November 4, 2011
Sex Offender Back in Custody; Gps Showed Former Priest near Catholic School, By Ruby Gonzales, San Gabriel Valley Tribune,
November 12, 2011
“Pedophile Priest” Arrested at Pelican Hills, OC Weekly Reports,, posted: September 11th, 2012

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Baker's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Oct. 4, 2012