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« Stirfry

Who are the sex-abuse claimants?

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


Published February 26, 2013

Untitled document

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.


Comments

1NoBS(1963 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Anyone with a shred of compassion for others would allow someone who's had a humiliating crime done to them to retain their anonymity.

deSouza, who won't give up any of his own personal information, wants the dirt on everyone else. Sure, let's have these people relive being abused by a religious figure they trusted, privacy and respect and dignity be damned.

What purpose, aside from gossip, would making public the identities of those who were abused serve?

And Baker chose to not be around to respond to any allegations when he took the coward's way out. He gets what he gets now.

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2kurtw(876 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm a skeptic here. My view is that when you have a public announcement that an out of court settlement in the high five figures was made with ten former students who claim they were abused by Br. Baker- the natural result will be (human nature being what it is) that a lot of other people- with the same claim- are going to come out of the woodwork.

Anyone who ever had private contact with Br. Baker over the years- is a potential claimant for "reward money". It's their word against whose- a man who died at his own hands? it's shameful. I don't know which is worse- a man destroyed by a sexual perversion- or people betrayed by the perversion of greed.

(As far as making their names public: how do you do that- and why? They're civil litigants and what purpose would it serve? Try another brand of Weed, Bertram, this one has led you astray!)

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3kurtw(876 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

As far as smoking weed is concerned, which brand, NoBS, were you on when you made that post?

All 50 of those people are innocent victims, crippled by Br. Bakers perversion, and not a single one is looking to "cash in"? Is that what you are saying?

The Catholic Church is fair game right now (they have themselves to blame) and any altar boy or gym student who had any documented private connection with a priest or friar is in a position to cash in. All it takes is a competent Shyster to package the case.

P.S. I attended Catholic School for 4 years- Let me see, was there a time when I was alone with the priest- what was his name, Oh, yes, I remember!- when he did anything improper- touched me in the wrong place? Oh, yes, I remember- it's all coming back to me...

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4NoBS(1963 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Childish name-calling, kurt? I thought you were better than that. Guess not. Look, I'm not even a Catholic, and couldn't care less what happens to that entire organization, but I know what's worthy of public consumption and what should be left private. Especially where someone of deSouza's caliber is concerned.

You could be right about at least some of the new claimants who've jumped into the mix being only there for the money, but how can you determine who is the real McCoy and who's a fake? Plus, deSouza wants to reveal the identities of the first accusers, who clearly WERE molested by Baker.

And for all your jumping to the wrong conclusions and embellishing and putting words in my mouth, then acting like it was I who said what you made up, you never answered the question - what good, aside from gossip, will it do to reveal those identities to the public? Should their identities be made available to investigators, and their stories thoroughly checked out? Absolutely. Should deSouza and his ilk get to further drag the true victims through the mud, for no reason other than his own gratification? You tell me.

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5kurtw(876 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

For: noBS

Look, I said in my first post that I thought asking for the names of the litigants- any of them, including the first 10- was a dumb idea. Bert must have had a bad day or been desperate for material- which is why I facetiously asked (I know the Vindy doesn't condone any form of drug use other than de-caffeinated coffee and Kool Aid) what brand of weed he'd been smoking. These are civil litigants (criminal records are public) and their right of privacy needs to be respected the same as yours and mine (which is the reason we post anonymously).

My other point is that the Catholic Church is fair game right now where child abuse is concerned- which is a state of affairs the Bishops produced with their history of coverups. Anybody, with a documented history of spending time alone with a Catholic Clergy man- altar boy, gym student in a Catholic School, etc- is in a good position to cash in- especially in a case where the clergyman or friar is deceased. And, believe me, the Shysters- remember they collect 50 percent of every settlement- are out there to make sure everyone is well aware of their "rights".

I am a Catholic (well, sort of, I stopped going to Mass years ago for different reasons) and I do think Catholicism has value as a moral compass for millions of people around the world and I hate to see that tradition compromised, possibly destroyed, by a lot of nit-wit Bishops who thought shielding pederasts was a good thing or- would work.

P.S. My apologies to the members of the Legal Profession for habitually referring to them as "Shysters". I know not all Lawyers are crooks- just as I know not all Priests and Friars are child abusers- but there are plenty of lawyers out there who give credence to the term by their actions- especially the ones who try to "cash in" on lawsuits against large organizations.

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6kurtw(876 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Another point, maybe we wouldn't be seeing these kinds of issues- celibate clergy hitting on children- if Catholic Clergy had normal lives? A wife and family, for instance. The Roman Catholic Church, as far as I know, is the only Christian denomination with a celibate rule- and there's nothing in Church History that makes celibacy mandatory- it was introduced in the 4th Century. All the Apostles, remember, were family men. Also, how would it be if they started ordaining women as priests? It doesn't have to be exclusively an (old) mens club.

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