LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Attorneys for four alleged victims of sexual abuse by a defrocked Catholic priest spoke out Thursday about a nearly $10 million settlement that was reached with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The four male victims were awarded a total of $9.9 million Tuesday in several cases against the Archdiocese, Cardinal Roger Mahony and former priest Michael Baker. The settlements in each of the four cases range from $995,000 to $4 million.
“This settlement is important, not just because of the amount of the money, but because it lays bare the responsibility and the grotesque conduct of Cardinal Mahony,” said attorney John Manly said.
All of the cases involve Father Baker, who reportedly molested the boys on multiple occasions, dating back to the 1970s.
“He raped me. He didn’t just touch me, he didn’t just put his hands down my pants. He raped me,” victim Michael Duran told CBS2.
Some of the alleged attacks occurred during overnight trips to San Diego and Riverside counties, attorneys said.
“It was alleged that Cardinal Roger Mahony knew of Father Baker’s criminal behavior and allowed him to continue to serve as a priest,” attorneys said in a news release.
In 1986, Baker confessed to sexually abusing two boys to the then-Archbishop, according to documents turned over by the Archdiocese.
Mahony, however, sent Baker to a treatment center in New Mexico and welcomed him back a year later into the ministry, where Baker molested again.
Despite several documented incidents involving minors, Baker was not defrocked until 2000.
Authorities believe Baker may have abused more than 20 children in his 26-year career in the Catholic Church.
In 2007, he pled guilty to 12 counts of molestation against young boys and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released in 2011 with credit for time served.
Mahony has called the church’s handling of Baker his “greatest mistake.”