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Who are the sex-abuse claimants?

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published February 26, 2013

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From the initial 11 former students of Warren John F. Kennedy High School who were sexually abused by Brother Stephen Baker, the number of alleged victims has risen to at least 50. Many of these men have ties to Kennedy high school or the former St. Mary’s Middle School in Warren.


Seeing as how Brother Baker is not around to respond to the allegations — he killed himself Jan. 26 at the monastery where he lived in Hollidaysburg, Pa., after a lawsuit settlement involving the initial 11 JFK students became public — the individuals claiming abuse should be identified publicly. They are adults and, therefore, do not need the protection that is required for children.


Without a doubt, Brother Baker was a pedophile that preyed on the young men. But, as the number of alleged victims grows, it is not unreasonable to have their names available for public scrutiny. Indeed, the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown has written to 1,800 former Warren JFK students, interviewed at least five current faculty members who worked with Brother Baker, and plans to talk to all other faculty and staff members who were around from 1986 to 1991 to ask what they know about the Franciscan friar.


Three individuals from Pennsylvania are filing sexual misconduct claims, alleging that Brother Baker abused them when he was teaching at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, Pa.


Given that the lawyers and advocates of victims of sex abuse by Catholic clergy have been public in their accusations against Brother Baker and their criticism of the Youngstown diocese, it is only fair that the identities of the individuals alleging abuse also be made public.

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