Clock Expired on Criminal Charges in Jfk Abuse Case

The Wkbn
January 16, 2013

[with video]

About a dozen men have settled out of court over alleged sexual abuse they suffered more than 20 years ago while students at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren.

The alleged abuse happened between 1986 and 1990 and is being blamed on Brother Stephen Baker. Because of Ohio's statute of limitations, only one of the victims can file criminal charges because victims have 20 years after the last occurrence of abuse to file criminal charges.

Executive Director of Trumbull County Children's Services Tim Schaffner said his office always recommends victims of abuse report the incidents as soon as possible.

"What we always recommend is there are lots of good counselors out there. There are a lot of folks that you can go talk to about this, talk about the impact this has had on your life, and they can help guide you through that," Schaffner said.

Two years ago, Ohio Sen. Capri Cafaro, D-Hubbard, introduced Senate Bill 185 to lift the statute of limitation on any kind of sexual crime, but it didn't pass.

"Frankly, the way I feel about that is that when you finally have the courage to come forward and talk about your abuse and you find out you can't seek justice, that to me is being victimized one more time in a different way," Cafaro said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Schaffner said the men who are speaking out now about the alleged abuse did not come forward just for themselves, but also to stop any more children from possibly being abused by Baker.

"For some people, it's therapeutic for them to come forward. It's helpful. For many people, it's not," Schaffner said.

Cafaro plans to reintroduce the bill to the Ohio General Assembly.

"Should a victim elect to come forward and press charges, if there is an absence of a statute of limitation, it would not matter how long ago the abuse occurred, they still would be able to come forward under Ohio law," Cafaro said.


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