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Woman Who Claims She Was Molested By Catholic Priest Files Suit

Jun 24, 2003 | AP

A woman who claims she was sexually abused as a child by a former Roman Catholic priest, who is facing criminal charges, has filed a lawsuit.

The woman, only identified as Cynthia C. in court documents filed Monday in Superior Court, claims Michael Stephen Baker molested her after he admitted to Cardinal Roger M. Mahony that he had abused several youths.

The suit, which names Baker and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, alleges childhood sexual abuse, assault and battery among other allegations.

Tod Tamberg, archdiocese spokesman, said that, since the archdiocese has yet to see the suit, it would refrain from commenting.

The woman, who now lives in Guadalajara, Mexico, alleges that she was first abused at the age of 13, when she met Baker at a Pico Rivera parish where her mother worked. The woman's two brothers also claimed they were abused by Baker from 1984 to 1999. The brothers received a $1.3 million settlement in 2000 from the archdiocese.

Baker, 55, has pleaded innocent to 34 counts of child molestation in connection with a boy he allegedly abused during the 1970s and 1980s. Investigators believe there are nine or more victims.

Baker was defrocked in December 2000, after the woman's allegations were made to the archdiocese. Mahony first notified police about Baker last year.

The woman said the alleged abuse by Baker began in 1984 and continued two years later when Mahony said he met with the priest and then sent him to treatment for his behavior. Baker received interim assignments to parishes until 2000.

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