YOUNGSTOWN — Franciscan Brother Stephen P. Baker, accused in the sexual abuse of at least 11 men who attended Warren John F. Kennedy High School, is dead, according to a statement from the Youngstown Diocese.
"The Provincial of the Third Order Regular Franciscans, Father Patrick Quinn, announced this morning that Brother Stephen Baker had died," said a statement from Bishop George V. Murry, posted on the diocese's website. "At this time, the circumstances of his death are under investigation."
The statement continued: "Let us continue to pray for all victims of abuse, for Brother Baker’s family and the repose of his soul."
Baker taught, coached baseball and served as athletic trainer at the school from 1986 to 1991. Since word of settlement of a lawsuit on behalf of the 11 men earlier this month, other men in Pennsylvania and other areas have come forward with stories of abuse by Baker.
Dr. Robert Hoatson, president of the clergy abuse support group Road to Recovery, issued a statement today reaffirming his group's support for "the courageous survivors of sexual abuse by Br. Stephen P. Baker despite his unfortunate death today.
"Victim/survivors have stepped forward in significant numbers to bravely report that they were harmed as children and would like to heal," he said in the statement. " That healing will continue despite the news that has come out of Pennsylvania today."
Hoatson added: "The passing of Br. Stephen P. Baker is in no way the fault of any of the courageous men and women who have contacted advocacy agencies, attorneys, or law enforcement agencies. Their pursuit of justice and truth must continue so they can heal and recover from the horrific ordeals experienced in childhood.
"Condolences are sent to the family and community members of Br. Stephen P. Baker who are left to mourn his death," Hoatson said.
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