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Youngstown Diocese receives $25 million demand regarding Brother Baker

Published: Thu, November 21, 2013 @ 12:03 a.m.

Staff report


The Diocese of Youngstown has received a settlement request on behalf of 25 more purported molestation victims of Brother Stephen Baker, the Franciscan friar who worked at Warren John F. Kennedy High School from 1986 to 1991.

Atty. Mitchell Garabedian of Boston sent the diocese a letter dated Oct. 17, 2013, demanding $1 million for each claim. Baker’s order, The Third Order Regular Franciscans, received a similar letter with the same demand, the Diocese said in a news release.

“The Diocese of Youngstown will follow its standard pastoral practice in this matter, as it does in any allegation of child abuse,” the diocese said.

“First, at the recommendation of the predominately lay Diocesan Review Board, the diocese will investigate each claim. If any of the claims are found to be credible, the diocese will offer financial assistance for counseling.”

Additionally, Bishop George V. Murry will meet with any victim who wants to speak with him personally, the diocese said.

On Jan. 25, 2013, Bishop Murry wrote to 11 victims also represented by Garabedian after the diocese and the Franciscans settled with those victims. In that letter, Bishop Murry apologized for Brother Baker’s actions and offered to meet with them individually.

Brother Baker committed suicide Jan. 26, 2013, in a monastery in Pennsylvania.

On Jan. 31, 2013, to determine the extent of Brother Baker’s purported sexual misconduct and to offer the diocese’s assistance to any victims, Bishop Murry reached out via letter to more than 1,900 JFK alumni who were students during the time Brother Baker was on the faculty. Two people responded, the diocese said.

Brother Baker served as sports trainer, baseball coach and religion teacher at JFK.

“I am deeply sorry for the pain suffered by survivors of abuse due to the actions of some members of the church community,” Bishop Murry said in the news release. “The Diocese of Youngstown will continue to respond in a pastoral way to victims of child sexual abuse. In all we do, nothing is more important than protecting our children.”


1JudyJones(162 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Quoted: “The Diocese of Youngstown will follow its standard pastoral practice in this matter, as it does in any allegation of child abuse,” the diocese said"---

-- This is NOT an encouraging response coming from Bishop Murry, considering his continued practice of ignoring victims who report to him about being sexually abused by clerics and teachers within his diocese.

--It is NOT encouraging to victims that Murry does not reveal and oust accused child predators within his diocese, especially when victims and witnesses have reported abuse to the church officials

--It is NOT encouraging to victims that Murry does not report these allegations to law enforcement immediately.

--It is NOT an encouraging response considering that Murry did not announce or make public the Baker sex abuse or the settlement for the Baker abuse this past January. Baker's brave victims came forward and made this news public, which has encouraged scores of other victims of Baker to speak up about being sexually abused by him.

How many complaints of abuse and how many children have to get sexually abused before Bishop Murry will take the appropriate action needed to protect kids today? He needs to make public every accused child predator within this diocese whether they are living or dead, removed or still working in parishes and schools.

We strongly urge law enforcement and prosecutors to get involved and investigate the Youngstown diocese church officials on how they handle and cover up child sex abuse and complaints of child sex abuse.
Silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

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

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