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Deadly Little Secrets

Chilling account of Texas murder

August 20, 2012
By REGINA M. ANGELI - Books Writer , The Daily News

Kathryn Casey has chronicled the case of Baptist minister Matt Baker who was convicted of murdering his wife, Kari, in her book, "Deadly Little Secrets: The Minister, His Mistress, and a Heartless Texas Murder." (Harper, 431 pages)

While he seemed to be a righteous preacher of the Gospel and devoted husband and father, Matt Baker had a long history of abusing women.

At first, his wife's death was labeled a suicide by drug overdose. This seemed at odds with the fact that she had just accepted a new teaching position.

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Authorities relied on her husband's testimony that she was still mourning the loss of their daughter, whose death, the author insists, was also suspicious.

The investigation at the scene of her death was slip shod to put it mildly. Though the police found a suicide note, it was not hand written but typed on her computer.

Based on the observations of the investigating officer, the justice of the peace did not order an autopsy.

The task of what really happened to Kari Baker fell to her bereaved family whose team of investigators helped unmask the malevolent minister and persuaded prosecutors to bring him to trial where he was convicted of his wife's murder.

Kathryn Casey highlights some alarming statistics which reveal there are quite a few shepherds who are little more than wolves preying on their flocks. The author refers to the 1991 Fuller Institute of Church of Growth report which states that 37 percent of ministers interviewed admitted to "inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in their church."

In addition, Casey points to a Baylor study which revealed that within Baptist congregations, one in 33 women were victimized by ministers.

As Ms. Casey points out, the problem is somewhat rooted in the fact that since each congregation is virtually autonomous, background checks of prospective ministers are up to the church board and often omitted.

But having a well-defined hierarchy with a single bishop possessing ultimate authority over all ministers is no guarantee of protection against sexual predators, as the Roman Catholic Church has demonstrated so tragically.

As one reads Kathryn Casey's shocking account of Matt Baker, this reviewer recalls the words of a wise old lawyer who was fond of saying, "beware of the do-gooder, he often does evil."



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