Lawsuit alleges Catholic Diocese of Savannah covered up sex abuse claims

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

September 29, 2020

By Shelia Poole

A lawsuit filed in state court in Chatham County against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah and its presiding bishop claims that the diocese was aware of and covered up allegations of sexual abuse by one of its priests.

William Fred Baker Jr., the plaintiff in the case, alleges the diocese knew that a priest, Wayland Yoder Brown, who was later defrocked, sexually abused him and others while employed by the diocese. The abuse allegedly began when Baker was 10 years old and a student at St. James Catholic School in Savannah, where his mother still works, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit mistakenly says he was 13.

Attorney Mark Tate, who represents Baker, who is now 42, said his client wanted to be named and lauded his “courage” in coming forward.

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