Mom of Alleged Victim Speaks Out
By Jim Madalinsky
July 23, 2014
Baker committed suicide in January of 2013.
In early May the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese was set to take part in settlement negotiations when they were called off pending the attorney general's investigation. On Wednesday, the mother of one of Baker's alleged victims was in Altoona.
"Brother Steve was put in place and I handed my son to him and that didn't have to happen," Barbara Aponte says.
Brother Steve is Brother Stephen Baker. He's accused of sexually assaulting close to 90 boys across three states for years.
Barbara Aponte says her son Luke was one of them while Baker was the athletic director and religion teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio.
But she didn't know until years after her son took his own life.
"I read in a journal about being hurt on the football field and not going to the locker room because he wasn't up for another one of Brother Steve's weird treatments and he was going to hide in the bushes until I came to pick him up from school." Aponte says.
"Sexual abuse of a child is not just sexual abuse of a child. It's sexual abuse of the child's family. The child's church. The child's community. The child's school. You name it." Robert Hoatson, President and Co-Founder of Road to Recovery says.
Hoatson is trying to help victims and their families find closure. He and Barbara protested outside of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese Wednesday, hoping to see settlement negotiations start soon.
"These victims need closure. They need a sense that they have been found credible, that they are believed and that they can get on with their lives," Hoatson says.
But Barbara says it's about more than just closing the case.
"This stalling is a small part of a much bigger problem," Aponte says.
And she plans to spend the rest of her life finding a way to raise awareness about the life-changing effects sexual abuse can have.
“Hopefully in my lifetime I'll see something real come of this,” Aponte says.
The Altoona-Johnstown Diocese said back in May they will not be taking part in any negotiations until the attorney general finishes the investigation into Brother Baker. We're told that investigation is still ongoing.