More Bishop Mccort Students Come Forward, Alleging Abuse by Friar
By Maria Miller
January 19, 2013
Eleven cases of alleged sexual abuse surrounding a Franciscan cleric, now living in Bair County, have grown overnight. At least five more men have come forward alleging they were sexually abused by Brother Stephen Baker while he served as an athletic trainer and coach at an Ohio high school in the 1980s. But they're not the only ones.
At least 12 former Bishop McCort students have started coming forward alleging the same abuse. They say it happened while Baker served as an athletic trainer and teacher at the Catholic high school in the 1990s.
Since Thursday, four more alleged victims have reached out to Johnstown attorney Michael Parrish, bringing his total up to at least 10. Two others have gone even further, contacting Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who specializes in clergy sex abuse cases.
"Yesterday two victims contacted me," said Garabedian. "They were both adult men who claim they were sexually abused by Brother Stephen Baker while attending Bishop McCort High School, and they described repeated sexual abuse by Baker while attending the high school."
Garabedian said he's representing five men in Ohio who claim they were abused by Baker in the 1980s. His practice is in Boston, more than 500 miles away, but he said he's represented more than 1,000 victims of clergy sexual abuse from across the world.
"Distances don't matter to me," said Garabedian. "I'll be working on these cases, investigating these cases, collecting relevant records and do my homework and due diligence to accurately state facts and properly represent my client."
Much like the alleged victims who came forward on Thursday, Garabedian said, the two men who contacted him said their alleged misconduct happened at the hands of Baker in the 1990s.
"Where were the supervisors when these children were being sexually abused?" asked Garabedian. "Brother Stephen Baker is a serial pedophile. He's still living in Pennsylvania and somebody should have been watching him while he was at this high school."
Officials in the Cambria County District Attorney's office said Friday they're aware of the allegations and are looking into them. But they wouldn't say whether any victims have contacted them.