11 Original Brother Baker Victims Should Be Commended
By Kody Leibowitz
March 15, 2016
A number of victims of Brother Stephen Baker's happened at Bishop McCort High School.
The investigation began years ago with a number of civil lawsuits: civil suits in Blair county and in Ohio.
Three high ranking members of the Franciscan Friars, Third Order Regulars, Province of the Immaculate Conception are facing felony criminal charges.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane described it as a cover-up of religious leaders allowing sexual abuse of more than 80 children, charging Giles Schinelli, Robert D'Avers and Anthony Criscitelli.
But the cases began when 11 victims of Brother Baker filed civil suits against JFK High School in Ohio and the Diocese of Youngstown.
They were represented by Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian.
"The 11 victims of Brother Baker who first brought the case to light about four years ago in Ohio should be commended, empowering themselves and other victims to make this world a safer place for children," said Garabedian.
Garabedian says he represented dozens of victims of Baker's over the years, as has Altoona attorney Richard Serbin.
He filed a civil suit in 2013 against the Franciscan Friars, Third Order Regulars, Province of the Immaculate Conception, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, former Bishop Joseph Adamec, Bishop McCort High School and Father D'Aversa. Serbin says he's both pleased and disappointed by Tuesday's announcement disappointed that there were no school officials at Bishop McCort charged.
"His training room was located in the boy's locker room," said Serbin. "Essentially he was like a kid in the candy store obtaining sexual gratification both physically and visually."
6News reached out to Bishop McCort for comment about the charges this afternoon.
A spokesperson for the catholic high school's board of trustees responded:
"Our goal always was and always will be the safety of God's children. From the beginning, this Board has taken aggressive, proactive steps to investigate and address the disturbing actions of Brother Stephen Baker. Though we did not have any legal jurisdiction or power, we were the only group to do so for far too long. Though this has been a long road, we are pleased that the Attorney General has decided to move forward and hold those complicit legally accountable, and we are committed to continuing to fully cooperate with law enforcement as this process continues. We pray that this is one more step on the path to helping the victims of Brother Baker reach peace and closure from this tragedy. And we pray that the healing of the victims and our community may begin."
"Supervisors turned their back on innocent children. It's unfortunate but it's a common experience within the catholic church," said Garabedian.