Boston Attorney Questions What Diocese Knew of Friar

By Maria Miller
January 19, 2013

[with video]

There are new details surrounding allegations against a cleric accused of inappropriately touching young boys.

Since allegations surfaced in Ohio against Brother Stephen Baker, former students from Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown have started coming forward.

Baker was recently accused of molesting 11 young boys in the 1980s while he worked as an athletic coach and trainer at a high school in Ohio. However, he was never criminally charged, settling out of court with the alleged victims.

But now at least 12 former Bishop McCort students have come forward alleging the same things happened to them while Baker served as an athletic trainer and teacher there in the '90s.

"Don't the diocese speak to each other? Where are the supervisors? It doesn't make any sense," said Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who is representing two former Bishop McCort students. "This man was a serial pedophile. The supervisor was either negligent by allowing this to happen or negligent not noticing this happening."

The Catholic Diocese of Altoona -Johnstown released a statement late Thursday afternoon saying Bishop Mark Bartchak was made aware of allegations against Baker in November 2011. But the diocese said Bartchak immediately contacted the proper authorities.

"This is just a play on words," said Garabedian, referring to the statement. "Maybe he didn't know since he's only been there for less than two years. But what did his predessors know?"

Garabedian said he now plans to conduct his own investigation into what really happened before proceeding further. He said his biggest question right now though is who knew what and when.

"You're not dealing with individuals when you're dealing with a diocese who isn't being honest and sincere and open," said Garabedian. "They got caught and all of a sudden they put out an advisory. Why didn't they put this advisory out in 2011?"

It's unclear if the Cambria County District Attorney's office will be pressing criminal charges because the office is not commenting whether or not any alleged victims have come forward to them.








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