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About 50 more people allege sex abuse by former Franciscan brother at Warren JFK

Published: Sun, February 24, 2013 @ 4:48 p.m.

About 50 more people allege sex abuse by former Franciscan brother at Warren JFK

Staff and wire report


About 50 more people have come forward to say they were sexually abused at Catholic schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio by a Franciscan brother who killed himself in January, said an attorney who settled 11 alleged abuse cases against the friar.

Brother Stephen Baker, 62, stabbed himself in the heart at a western Pennsylvania monastery on Jan. 26, a little over a week after the disclosure of financial settlements in alleged abuse cases in Warren.

A coroner told the Altoona Mirror that Baker left a short note apologizing for his actions.

The new accusers have alleged in recent weeks that they were abused between 1982 and 2007, attorney Mitchell Garabedian said Sunday. Some said Baker abused them even after he left teaching in 2000 when he would attend school events in Johnstown, Pa., Garabedian said.

The latest allegations come from people in 12 states who went to school in Warren or were either middle school or high school students in Johnstown, where Baker taught and coached, Garabedian said.

News of the new cases were released at a press conference Sunday at Warren JFK High School.

The Boston attorney said he’s also heard from four people who say they were abused while Baker was at a high school in Orchard Lake, Mich.

Baker was named in legal settlements in January involving 11 men who alleged he sexually abused them at a Catholic high school in northeast Ohio three decades ago. The undisclosed financial settlements involved his contact with students at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren from 1986 to 1990.

Baker taught and coached at John F. Kennedy High School in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was at Bishop McCort in Johnstown from 1992 to 2000. He taught in Michigan in the mid-1980s.

Roman Catholic Bishop George Murry of Youngstown said this month that he sent letters asking for information from about 1,200 adults who attended Kennedy High School while Baker taught and coached there.

The Youngstown diocese has said it was unaware of the allegations until nearly 20 years after the alleged abuse.

Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com.


1Attis(1128 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Over the course of some two dozen years in his long pedophile career in Catholic schools in at least three states, this monster sexually abused/raped a small army of children and youth and, of course, the Catholic Diocese knew nothing about it until last year. Yeah, sure, and the moon is made of green cheese. The prophet Jeremiah(6:15) may have had the Catholic Diocese in mind when asking "Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush".

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2lib(12 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

The church is asking for former catholics to come back to the church. I guess they need money. And, wow, now 4 Cardinals are being asked not to attend the conclave in the Vatican. The best one is the cardinal from Scotland who is being accused of sexually assaulting his own seminarians. Could they be turning on each other? Sex crimes, corruption, and in-fighting sounds like a trashy novel not a church that gets an exemption from paying taxes because they do such good works for people. And, they had the nerve to criticize the poor nuns who were truly doing good works.

Hurting children is a disgusting CRIME and should be punishable by extreme measures. Quit calling it a sin to be absolved in confession. It is a crime and should be punishable as stipulated in the bible by having a millstone tied around the perpetrator's neck and thrown into the sea. But there seems to be a shortage of millstones in the vatican.

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3Attis(1128 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Belly Button: get a brain, heart, mind and life. Your cherished dead Baker was a monster and deserves to burn in hell.

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4kurtw(1759 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

For: bellybutton
Re: "feeding frenzy"

Your post says it all. I wonder how many of these new complainants have been contacted by attorneys offering to represent them? Anyone, in private contact with Br. Baker over the years can file a claim and, no doubt, the church will settle. It's a feeding frenzy all right- and it's fueled by the legal profession.

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5kurtw(1759 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Lawyer's have a way of arousing the greed motive latent in all of us. A few years ago I had a minor workers comp case (a stubbed toe, I think) and though the matter has long been resolved, I still get letters from hungry shysters offering to "represent" me and dangling the sums I might collect if I signed with them.

I threw those letters away, but, if so inclined, I might have "built" my injured toe into a settlement to support me the rest of my life.

I get suspicious when people wait 20- 25 years to report how seriously they have been injured and damaged. I suspect mercenary motives.

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6whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Not all these people are victims. Money is the motive as usual.

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7Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

It's all about the $$$$$, no more, no less.

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8lib(12 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

The victims did not come forward in the past because they knew nobody would believe them just like some of you now. Besides, they were brainwashed with all the catholic doctrine about obedience, duty, trust, etc. It is all about power and the catholic church knew it. They were more powerful than the victims and the victims could be shamed. It was a giant cover up through the whole hierarchy all the way to the pope. Now, that the whole thing is tumbling down, people want to blame the victims. It is a crime but because our legal system cannot prosecute because of the statutes (which are being changed) does not mean it is not a crime. And, yes, the church is settling out of court because they do not want these “sins” exposed. When the legal system gets involved with exposing these cardinals, then, then the vatican finds them a place to hide. It is all a giant cover-up. Read about the 1000,000 girls in Ireland who were used and abused by the catholic church in laundries. No wonder so many Irish have left the church. If any of you want to believe this is about money, then, I suggest considering one of your family members go through this experience. These were children who were taught from a young age to be good, listen to their elders, especially priests. The priests had the power and they knew it.

Why doesn’t Murray issue a Sunday letter like he did when he waned to oppose Obama’s policies? Why is he still acting like he wants this to go away? I want to know why they care so much about the unborn child when they abuse children after they are born? Hypocrisy. You talk about money. Who has more money than the Vatican and they are the only sovereign nation who will not open their financial books. Have you ever been there? Gold, gold, gold. The pope and his Gucci shoes and you are worried about the victims getting some money. Believe me, the victims would have rather received no money and not have been raped by someone they trusted.

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9SunnySkies(20 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

lib you are right on. My question is "How many more?" If we are now hearing from so many thousands who were abused by these priests, how many have (and probably won't) not come forward? Certainly money may be the motivation for some, but it doesn't excuse the crime. I personally know one older man who was abused locally and will not go forward out of fear and embarassment. His parents were strong Catholics who told him as a young boy to do whatever a priest told him to do. People forget that life was a lot different back in the 1950's-60's. Priests and other clergy were put on very high pedestals and could do no wrong. My guess is that there are thousands of people who were abused who we have not heard from and won't. And WHO is paying these out of court settlements? Do you want to keep contributing your money? Did the Pope step down because he can no longer take the strain of all of these constant horrible stains on the Church? Me thinks so.

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10DwightK(1535 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

If thinking that these victims are in for the cash leaves your conscience clear enough to go to church Sunday morning, keep thinking the way you do. We know now that it sometimes takes decades for sexual abuse victims to come forward and they are more likely to when they realize they are not alone.

You are asking teenagers to muster courage that may be beyond them when you say "why didn't they come forward sooner". Think about the heinous crime they are accusing Brother Baker of and then think about the how powerful the church is.

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11walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

On January 24, Bishop Murry held a press conference where he directly talked to the news media about Brother Baker. In fact, the following day,the Diocese published his statement which you can read at doy.org. Subsequent to that statement, the bishop sent letters to over 1200 adults that attended JFK during the tenure of Baker asking that if anyone had inappropriate contact with Baker to contact the diocese. What more do you want the bishop to do? Send taxicabs to bring them downtown to see him?

No doubt, the Vatican has accumulated tremendous wealth over the years and I'm sure some of it was obtained by improper means or was blood money. The church is run by mortals that are far from perfect. Imagine that! In my view, the Vatican has been taken over by some leaders that want homosexuality to be declared not a sinful lifestyle. Now, I'm going to flip you out. When the College of Cardinals meets in Rome next month, only those who are 79 years old and younger can cast votes for the next pope. Of those men, 100% of them have been appointed to their office by either Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict. So, while the faces may change, the Catholic Doctrine will remain the same!

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