Tuesday, February 26, 2013
3 Abuse Suits Filed Against Catholic Diocese and Order After Priest Commits Suicide
WKBN News reported yesterday on the third lawsuit growing out of sexual abuse of teenage boys by Franciscan Brother Stephen Baker at Catholic high schools in Warren, Ohio and Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Baker had been placed under supervision in a monastery in 2000 when complaints against him were first raised. Last month, Baker committed suicide, leaving notes apologizing for his actions. Charges against Baker became widely known last month after a Boston attorney announced a settlement on behalf of 11 victims. The settlement was paid by the Third Order Regular Franciscans and the Youngstown Catholic Diocese. There followed three lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania state court against the Franciscans and the Johnstown-Altoona Catholic Diocese. Baker allegedly used his position as athletic trainer to give teenage boys massages that included fondling their genitals and digitally penetrating them. Last week, the Youngstown diocese announced it had written 1200 adults who were students during the years that Baker taught in diocese schools, asking them to come forward with any other charges against Baker.