No Evidence to Show Former McCort Trainer Was Certified
January 21, 2013
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. —
6 News is taking a closer look at a cleric accused of sexually assaulting minors while he worked at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown more than a decade ago.
Brother Stephen P. Baker had first been accused of molesting minors at a school in Ohio. Allegations in Cambria County hadn't surfaced until 2011.
Baker had been known at McCort as "trainer Steve," because he served a role as an athletic trainer. But as 6 News reporter Maria Miller uncovered, there's no evidence he was certified for that position.
"These young guys are shocked that what was relayed to them as therapeutic treatment was actually just probably a creative ruse for a sexual assault or molestation," said Johnstown Attorney Michael Parrish.
Parrish is representing at least 10 former McCort students who allege they were sexually abused by Baker in the 1990s.
But the title of "trainer Steve" is one that certified athletic trainers like Teresa Zepka told 6 News is inaccurate and a direct slap to the face to her and others that work hard to earn the title.
"People think that certified athletic trainers just tape and ice people down," said Zepka. "That's not what we do. There's a lot more to it. "
The National Athletic Trainers' Association was formed in 1950 to establish requirements needed to hold the title of athletic trainer. They include the completion of a four-year degree and passing a national exam to become state certified.
"He was calling himself a trainer, and the public isn't aware of the difference many times," said Zepka.
But the Pennsylvania Bureau of Occupational Affairs has a website that Zepka said can clear up confusion.
"You can go on there and on the left-hand side there's an icon that says verify licenses, and you can check to see that they hold the appropriate credential to be taking care of you and your family," said Zepka.
6 News searched the database but found no trace of Stephen P. Baker licensed in Pennsylvania, not even with an inactive or expired status.
"I'm not sure what his contract was with Bishop McCort High School," said Zepka. "I don't know if they knew or didn't know."
Calls to the attorney representing the school district were not returned on Monday.
Parrish told 6 News he has not been able to confirm whether or not Baker was certified with the state.