- Advertisement -
  • Most Commentedmost commented up
  • Most Emailedmost emailed up
  • Popularmost popular up
- Advertisement -

« News Home

Fifty more accuse friar of abuse, group says

Published: Mon, February 25, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

Allegations come from men in 12 states, many with ties to Warren JFK, attorney says



BY Jordan Cohen



At least 50 more men have come forward claiming sexual abuse at the hands of Franciscan Brother Steven Baker, the head of a support group for victims of molestation by clergy said Sunday.

Most of the accusers attended Warren’s John F. Kennedy High School and St. Mary’s Middle School from 1986 to 1990.

“We think the total is nearly 65, and that would make him one of the most prolific pedophiles in the history of the church,” said Robert Hoatson, a former priest who heads Road to Recovery, a New Jersey-based support group for victims of sexual molestation by priests and other Catholic clergy.

Baker committed suicide Jan. 26 shortly after the school, a Franciscan order and the Diocese of Youngstown settled with 11 male students who said they had been assaulted by Baker while he served as a sports trainer, baseball coach and religion teacher at JFK.

An attorney for the 11 described the settlement as in “the upper five figures.” Baker had been living at a monastery in Newry, Pa., when he killed himself.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said in Toledo on Sunday that the new accusers have alleged in recent weeks that they were abused between 1982 and 2007. 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.

Hoatson, who spoke outside Warren JFK High on Sunday afternoon, also alleged other sexual molestation incidents at JFK that led to staff or faculty dismissals even though he admitted that he cannot verify the allegations.

“There was knowledge of sexual abuse in this building,” Hoatson said. “I call upon Bishop George Murry [head of the diocese] to take accountability and responsibility…and to release all information about the firings of personnel.”

Diocese offices were closed Sunday and officials could not be reached to comment. The diocese, in a statement after the initial settlement, said neither it nor the high school “had any knowledge of the allegations of abuse while Brother Baker served at the school.”

However Hoatson said he has not asked for a meeting with the bishop. “We know how these meetings go, and this will go nowhere,” said the former priest who described himself as the victim of sexual abuse by a clergyman when he was young.

Hoatson, who revealed he was in the area to meet with another alleged victim of Baker’s, said he hopes his comments will lead to additional mediation with the diocese and the high school for the latest group of victims.

“I’m hoping all of the parties come to the table and begin the healing,” Hoatson said, adding that thus far none of the latest group of alleged victims has decided to go public and be identified.

The diocese, meanwhile, has sent letters to 1,200 adults who attended JFK from August 1985 to January 1992 and from January to June 1978 asking them to come forward if they were abused by Baker or have knowledge of sexual abuse.

One letter did not sit well with Barbara Aponte of Poland, who accompanied Hoatson to the news conference. Aponte attributes the suicide of her 26-year old son in 2003 to sexual abuse by Baker. Her son, Luke Bradesku, attended JFK from 1990 to 1994.

“I received a letter for my son (from Bishop Murry) apologizing for what happened in one paragraph and then in the next denying responsibility,” she said. “They didn’t know they were sending the letter to a dead student.

“It was insulting and difficult,” she said as she sobbed.

Aponte said she resents allegations that her efforts are an attempt to get a cash settlement from the diocese.

“There isn’t a dollar figure that can [relieve] the humiliation,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


1endthismess(422 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

This constant stonewalling the leader of the local diocese has been doing is going to totally back fire. People are getting really seriously fed up with the locals AND Benny 16, who is now a quitter. Just the tip off the ice berg.

Suggest removal:

2kensgirl(923 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I agree. I smell a rat somewhere. We may never know the real truth. All of the voting Cardinals were appointed by the last 2 popes so nothing is really going to change. It's a shame. I'm a Catholic but am so ashamed of the church's behavior. Something is brewing. for this pope to leave and it's not about health issues. God have mercy.

Suggest removal:

3JudyJones(157 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

You would hope there is someone within the college of cardinals who could be a pope with integrity, and who will start to take immediate decisive actions to stop these sex crimes against innocent children.
Yet with that in mind, since all of these cardinals were promoted by popes we have our doubts, in fact some should be fired, including Mahony and O'Brien.

So we hope that outside law enforcement will get more involved and investigate these crimes against humanity.
Until high ranking church officials spend some time behind bars, nothing will change within this archaic secretive institution. As long as they can still get away with it, they have no reason to stop.

Children are safest when child predators and those who enable and conceal their crimes are held responsible.
Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511.
"SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

Suggest removal:

4JudyJones(157 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

These brave victims are to be commended for their courage for speaking up and exposing the truth. This news, of so many kids who were harmed by this Brother Baker, is extremely disturbing and we are concerned that there are many more. We know that he was located in at least 5 states, and why have so many church and school officials been so silent about this? He worked in MN. MI, OH, PA, & VA.
We urge anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by Baker to come forward, get help, and contact law enforcement. Any little information may help victims to find justice and even though Baker is now dead, it can still help to protect kids today from others who are being shielded by church officials.
Child sex abuse thrives in secrecy and secret systems that allow it to continue to this day, Children do not deserve to be dealt a life sentence of suffering because of being sexually abused by anyone. Keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protect others. Also, you can contact SNAP. There is hope , help, and you are not alone.

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511.
"SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

Suggest removal:

5SunnySkies(20 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Where are all of the comments for this story? There were many many more this morning and now we are down to 2. Something isn't right.

Suggest removal:


HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2015 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes