AG Kathleen Kane to Announce "Criminal Charges" during Johnstown News Conference
March 14, 2016
|Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane will announce “criminal charges related to a major investigation” during a Johnstown stop Tuesday, her office said Monday. (Rich Schultz / AP)|
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane will announce "criminal charges related to a major investigation" during a Johnstown stop Tuesday, her office said Monday.
Kane's second local news conference this month will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Living Learning Center.
The AG's office did not confirm what subject will be discussed.
On March 1, Kane held a press conference at the Blair County Convention Center during which she discussed a grand jury report that accused the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown of perpetrating a decades-long cover-up to protect dozens of priests and other religious leaders who allegedly sexually abused children.
The document noted that the large investigation started when the attorney general's office began looking into allegations made against Brother Stephen Baker - who, in his role as an athletic trainer, reportedly abused dozens of students at what was formally called Bishop McCort High School. But the document did not provide any additional information about the Baker case.
"The question is really whether more evidence has surfaced indicating Brother Baker sexually abused children in Pennsylvania or prior to Pennsylvania," said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who represented more than 30 of the victims from Bishop McCort.
Garabedian said because of the "enormity" of the information involved in cases, such as the one involving Baker, the diocese and local law enforcement, it is "not unusual that press conferences would take place in close proximity to each other."
Bob Hoatson, co-founder of Road to Recovery, a nonprofit organization that supports victims of childhood sexual abuse, said he was "very surprised" to hear another press conference is scheduled. "The only thing I could think of is she going to indict people?" Hoatson said.
He added: "I'm at a loss. I'm puzzled."
Baker officially served at Bishop McCort from 1992 until 2000 and then reportedly was still seen at the school afterward. He had previously spent time in Virginia, Minnesota, West Virginia, Michigan and Ohio. Allegations of sexual abuse had been made against Baker before his arrival at Bishop McCort.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Province of the Immaculate Conception of the Third Order Regular Franciscans and what is now called Bishop McCort Catholic High School reached settlements with more than 80 of Baker's victims.
Baker committed suicide - in January 2013 - by reportedly stabbing himself in the heart, while at St. Bernardine Monastery in Newry, Blair County.