Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church—Clergy Sexual Abuse in West Los Angeles, CA
Sexual abuse of any kind is horrific, but it is particularly heinous if it involves a child. Perhaps one of the worst forms of childhood sexual abuse is that between a priest and a child. The Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church in West Los Angeles, California, was home to priest Michael Stephen Baker in the late seventies. That is where he began sexually abusing children of the parish. Although much time has passed, if you believe you survived clergy sexual abuse at Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church in the late seventies, you deserve justice. At Boucher LLP, we have dedicated our practice to helping survivors find their voice and seek the closure they deserve.
Michael Stephen Baker and Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church
Authorities have discovered Baker abused dozens of children, some as young as five years old. Many clergy sexual abuse survivors hide in silence for years, afraid and unsure of what legal action they can take. However, in recent years more and more survivors have come forward to tell their stories.
Clergy sexual abuse cases from Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church and others go far beyond prosecuting the abuser individually. Often many other individuals and entities are aware of the abuse and make a conscious effort to cover it up.
In the case of Michael Baker, early on in his assignment, he admitted to church authorities that he sexually abused multiple children. Disgracefully, he was still permitted to serve as a priest, while the Archdiocese of Los Angeles covered up his abuse. For decades Baker was reassigned and relocated to new churches in an effort to cover up the abuse. Specifically, Cardinal Roger Mahony and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles placed restrictions on Baker and even sent him for rehabilitation treatment. However, Baker continued to abuse children for years to come. It was not until 2000 that the Archdiocese removed him from active ministry.
The case of Michael Stephen Baker is one of the most infamous church sexual abuse cases in California. In 2013, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles paid out nearly $10 million to settle four cases of abuse by Baker. If you were sexually abused at Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Los Angeles, it is not too late to come forward.
California Child Victims Act
In October of 2019, California passed the Child Victims Act, which expanded the rights of suvivors of childhood sexual abuse. The Act took effect on January 1, 2020, and has since greatly expanded the window of opportunity for survivors to file claims against their abuser or the organization that enabled and or covered up the abuse.
Specifically, the Act made significant changes to the statute of limitations. The Act now allows survivors to file a civil lawsuit for damages either:
- By the time they reach the age of 40, or
- 5 years after they discover (or reasonably should have discovered) that their psychological injury was caused by their childhood sexual assault, whichever of the two occurs latest.
Importantly, for any older church abuse claim, such as those arising out of Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church, the Act implemented a three-year window for survivors who would otherwise be precluded from bringing a civil lawsuit. This three-year window allows survivors to file a claim up until December 31, 2022, that would otherwise be beyond the statute of limitations. At Boucher LLP, we stop at nothing to hold the perpetrator accountable, as well as any other adult or organization who failed to stop the abuse. Your claims are time sensitive. Contact us at Boucher LLP, and we will immediately get to work on your church abuse claim to seek the justice you have long deserved.
Choosing the Right Lawyer
If you attended Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church as a young child and survived sexual abuse of any kind, you deserve justice. You can trust our attorneys to deliver that justice for you. We have decades of experience representing sexual abuse survivors. Our attorneys at Boucher, LLP, are trauma informed and lead with compassion and understanding. You do not have to face this alone anymore. Let us fight for you.