Catholic school coach, teacher sexually abused as many as 25 students

Representative for abuse victims advocacy group speaks out against officials, alleged cover-up.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jan 16, 2013

A former Warren John F. Kennedy High School religion teacher, sports trainer and baseball coach used his authority positions to tell students they needed massages to avoid injury, then sexually molested them, one as many as 25 times during the late 1980s. That's the information provided by a source familiar with the settlements reached in the cases Wednesday, as reported today by WKBN TV-27's website.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian told the TV station that he negotiated settlements for 11 men who attended JFK High from 1986 to 1990 that claimed Brother Stephen P. Baker, a baseball coach, religion teacher and athletic trainer during his tenure at JFK, had molested them.

Settlements were reached with JFK High School, the Youngstown Diocese and with T.O.R. Franciscan religious order based in Pennsylvania.

When WKBN reporters reached Baker by phone Wednesday in his room at St. Bernadine's monastery in Newry, Pa., he said he was shocked when informed about the accusations. "I'm flabbergasted," Baker told the TV station. "I'll have to ask my superiors if I can say anything." Baker then immediately hung up.

T.O.R. Franciscan officials told WKBN that Baker was removed from all public ministry and has been living under strict supervision in which he has no contact with minors.

(NOTE: To read the full story, click HERE.)

Judy Jones, who serves as Midwest Assistant Midwest Director of the advocacy group SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, released the following statement:

"Youngstown Catholic officials kept silent for more than three years about multiple credible child sex accusations against a Catholic school teacher. What else are they hiding?

"'Open and transparent' -- that's what Catholic bishops are required to be in child sex cases, according to the official U.S. church abuse policy. What's 'open' about keeping quiet as child sex allegations trickle in -- one after the other -- against a Catholic school teacher? What's 'transparent' about saying nothing even as settlements are quietly being paid out? This is the same old, same old.

"What did Youngstown officials do -- besides say nothing -- about this predator? They quietly let him move elsewhere. The same old, same old.

"How many more kids has Brother Baker sexually assaulted over the last three years while Catholic officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania (where he now lives) kept secrets about his crimes? Even after settling 11 cases against Brother Baker, Catholic officials stayed silent. Again, same old, same old.

"We hope every single person who was abused in the Youngstown diocese -- by Baker or other predators -- will find the courage to step forward, get help, call police, expose crimes, protect kids and start healing," Jones concluded.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims.

SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in the title, the organization includes members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. The website is SNAPnetwork.org.

Comments

truckin

WOW really reaching out long distance. to get "them" catholic's. Just because i have never heard about sex or child sex allegations involving the muslum religion. Does that mean it doesn't exist? Not excusing it by no means.. But d@mn do people hate catholic's. God, for that matter. Hasn't that always, thru time, a dictators worst fear is someone believing in ANYONE but them.. Surely our government and fellow followers, don't believe everyone should just stop with religion and believe in another (HIGHER POWER) Catholics are the biggest, go after them is all i see.

eriemom

truckin, don't take it personally. This is about a man who took an oath of celibacy, did something immoral, and illegal. This would be a story in any community. It is only a national story because the religion protected these men for centuries. Surly you don't agree with that.

I Can Read

Well said truckin

Windy

Not only is it a teacher/coach having sex with students, but this story is also religion with inappropriate sex. The NR has a sure-fire hit with this story. Good grief!

swiss family

I don't think that anyone is setting out to "get them Catholics" but what is happening, is that the cloak of secrecy has been cracked and the Catholic church is being exposed for what it is... of course, inappropriate sexual conduct happens in every church, school, team, and organization.. the difference is, that when it is any other organization that is exposed as having sexual preditors in their midst, they are reported to the Police, and charges are brought against them, after the investigation, and if found guilty, the preditors are sent to prison... THAT is the difference... NO Priests have been properly punished.. even in this story, it clearly says that the accused pedophile was removed from all active ministry, and is under strict supervision, and is not allowed around minors?????? why isn't he in jail????? How do they get away with this? if it were Muslims or any other group, there would be an outcry for justice.. but somehow the Catholic church is above the law... and their victims for some reason do not deserve justice..Check with our own Toledo Diocese, you will find that there have been 4 prominent pedophile priests, and at least one retired coach who are officially listed as sexual preditors of children, with many , local victims, yet none of them have spent one day behind bars for their crimes... No one is on any witch hunt for the Catholic church... the church is finally being exposed for the sexual crimes that they have allowed to take place, secretly, for years..

TOPGUN01

THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR YEARS!THEY JUST MOVE THEM TO A NEW AREA WHERE THEY ARE NOT IN CONTACT WITH KIDS.

Contango

Awaiting the headline:

"Public employee union member school coach, teacher sexually abused as many as (fill in the blank) students."

Brock Lee

me to

inquiringmind

BUT, the HEADLINE says "Catholic" school coach, teacher. Years ago I had a friend who's father was sexually abusing her. He was found out, went to church (not a catholic one), stood up before the members, "confessed" his sins, and that was the end of it. Not one person reported it to the police. No one should ever have this happen to them. My friend has moved on and her father is dead. This man lived out the rest of his life around children. He was a Sunday School teacher even after he was found out. It DOES happen in all religions. It is just that some find it more attractive to believe that it only happens in the Catholic religion.

swiss family

"Inquiring"....it is NOT the community's fault that there are so many pedophiles within the Catholic Church. One of the reasons that there are so many in the Catholic Church, is because for generations, they have refused to do the right thing, and turn these people over to the Police and court systems and let justice prevail. They have moved them around, shuffled them back into a new , unsuspecting community, where they have free reign to repeat the crimes that they have been caught doing.Even the Priests and Bishops who were not actively molesting the children, were most likely involved in the cover up and secrecy that was the order of the day,. that allowed this to continue on.You are right.. the Catholic Church is NOT the only organization that has had molesting pedophiles within their midst, BUT they are the only known organization, who have as many accused and confirmed criminals in them, who have never been turned over to the authorities , to make sure that the children are safe, and that justice is gained.I believe that if the Catholic were to actually be "transparent" as they claim they are striving for, and actually turn these molesting criminals over to the authorities, instead of mixing them in, and shuffling them in with the other good men in their system, most people would see that it is Justice that they seek, and would include them into all of the other organizations that also have the same problem.I do not want to burst your bubble, but a child molester is nearly impossible to rehabilitate. So your friends Father quite possibly knew his surroundings, and knew what people needed to support him, and gave them what they needed... I doubt very seriously if he never molested another child.. and please tell me who in their right mind would take the chance with such high stakes as their children, would ever allow him free reign with the kids to be their Sunday School teacher.. the only way that , that was possible was if he fooled everyone in the Church, by lying and deceiving them, which , if you would look into the make up of a pedophile, they are experts at lying and telling you what you need to hear..my fear is that in the years to come, you will see many of those children step forward, and tell the awful truth of what actually happened

TOPGUN01

THANKYOU ,HOW TRUE!THAT IS WHY I,M NOT CATHOLIC ANYMORE!

JudyJones

Because these brave victims came forward and took action, Franciscan Brother Stephen P. Baker's name has now been exposed. It is sad the statute of limitations for child sex crimes stops victims from having their day in court, and therefore child predators are able to continue in their jobs and have access to innocent children.

Bishop Murry is not following his own child protection policy which was established 10 years ago, Baker is not the only child predator who is still being protected and working in the Youngstown diocese.

For the full truth to be exposed within this diocese, there needs to be a grand jury investigation into how the Youngstown church officials handle reports of child sex abuse.

Let's hope that anyone who has been harmed by Baker or anyone in this diocese, will speak up and contact law enforcement no matter how long ago the abuse happened.

It's time for the children in the Youngstown area to be protected, instead of protecting those who sexually abuse them.

For information about our monthly SNAP Support meetings in Youngstown, please contact our Youngstown Area SNAP Leader - Jerry Arnal,
ph- 330-718-6226; jerryarnal@yahoo.com
Victims and supporters are welcome to attend these confidential self help group support meetings.

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-433-2511
http://www.youngstowntruth.org/
SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word priest in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, teachers, Protestant ministers and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like orphanages, summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts

swiss family

Thank you Judy Jones... for speaking the truth.

Every time I try to tell people the harsh facts, including all of the kids in this town who went to our local Catholic Church and school, who were abuse victims of at least 4 known and names pedophile Priests that came through our Parish, People accuse me of "bashing" the church. I am not bashing the church, but I would like to see some accountability for all of the boys who are living with their "secret" and "demon" and the missing piece that makes them look at life, family, closeness, and commitment in a distorted view.

I wish that there was a way to connect with the local boys who ultimately took their own lives, instead of living with the shame of the offenses that were done to them.although it was not their shame to carry.

There is a great deal of denial that happens not just here, but everywhere.. People want to pretend that nothing bad happened to their kids, and if it ever did, they believe that their kids would tell them about it... sadly the statistics do not back up those hopeful thoughts.

I also think it is an insult to the justice system that the statute of limitations is so short for these survivors. Many have somehow blocked it out because their mind rescued them and put this tragedy in a place that it will release to them, when they can handle it, and sadly it is usually past the statute.I find it hard to believe that sexually molesting children has any statute on it...they should be able to prosecute their offenders without any limits, that would be Justice, in my opinion

swiss family

Thank you Judy Jones... for speaking the truth.

Every time I try to tell people the harsh facts, including all of the kids in this town who went to our local Catholic Church and school, who were abuse victims of at least 4 known and names pedophile Priests that came through our Parish, People accuse me of "bashing" the church. I am not bashing the church, but I would like to see some accountability for all of the boys who are living with their "secret" and "demon" and the missing piece that makes them look at life, family, closeness, and commitment in a distorted view.

I wish that there was a way to connect with the local boys who ultimately took their own lives, instead of living with the shame of the offenses that were done to them.although it was not their shame to carry.

There is a great deal of denial that happens not just here, but everywhere.. People want to pretend that nothing bad happened to their kids, and if it ever did, they believe that their kids would tell them about it... sadly the statistics do not back up those hopeful thoughts.

I also think it is an insult to the justice system that the statute of limitations is so short for these survivors. Many have somehow blocked it out because their mind rescued them and put this tragedy in a place that it will release to them, when they can handle it, and sadly it is usually past the statute.I find it hard to believe that sexually molesting children has any statute on it...they should be able to prosecute their offenders without any limits, that would be Justice, in my opinion