Sex-abuse accuser from Cortland reacts to Fransiscan brother’s death
Mike Munno said he knew there would be some strange days ahead when he and a fellow Warren John F. Kennedy High School graduate discussed the sex crimes they say Franciscan brother Stephen Baker committed against them in high school, but Brother Baker’s death isn’t the outcome he wanted or expected.
“I don’t think it’s the closure we expected. I would have not thought it would have gone to this extreme,” Munno of Cortland said Saturday after police in Hollidaysburg, Pa., found Baker dead in his room at St. Bernadine Monastery in Newry, Pa., about 90 minutes east of Pittsburgh.
“No matter what it is, you don’t wish death on anybody,” Munno said.
Baker’s body was found at about 7:30 a.m., and an autopsy was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Officials from the Youngstown Catholic Diocese and Brother Baker’s Franciscan order said the circumstances of his death are under investigation.
“Let us continue to pray for all victims of abuse, for Brother Baker’s family and the repose of his soul,” Bishop George V. Murry of the Youngstown Diocese said in a statement.
Munno and another man met with the news media Jan. 16 to allege that the reason the Youngstown Diocese and the Franciscan Third Order Regular settled out of court with 11 former male athletes at JFK was that Baker sexually abused them from 1986 to 1990 at the school and in other locations.
Baker was athletic trainer at the school from 1986 to 1992 and would use massages in a small, closed training room at the school to massage the boys’ genitals and digitally pentrate them, the men, a spokesman and their attorney said.
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