One of Baker’s victims, Matt Severson, said he had not planned to read the priest’s confidential file until a friend called him and urged him to do so.
The missing documents upset Severson, he said, but not as much as reading references to his own abuse in Baker’s words.
The priest told a therapist at a center where Mahony sent him for evaluation that his relationship with Severson was ‘‘very beautiful’’ and that the young boy was ‘‘the focus of his affection’’ although he had also molested other children. The priest molested Severson for a decade, beginning when Severson was about 10.
Seeing those descriptions brought back painful memories — but also a sense of relief, said Severson, now 45.
‘‘In the mix of all these swirling emotions, there’s also a sense of validation,’’ he said. ‘‘I see myself in here and as painful as it is, it’s helpful.’’