Dead Catholic Priest Accused of Molesting Students Taught in Metro Detroit, Victim's Group Says

By Patricia Montemurri
Detroit Free Press
January 30, 2013

A Catholic friar found dead Saturday after being accused of sexually molesting former Catholic school students in Ohio and Pennsylvania taught at the all-boys St. Mary’s Preparatory School in Orchard Lake, according to a victim’s advocacy group.

Representatives of The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said Brother Stephen Baker worked at the all-boys St. Mary’s Preparatory School in Orchard Lake from 1983-85. On Tuesday, the group delivered a letter to the Archdiocese of Detroit headquarters demanding that Archbishop Allen Vigneron investigate the Detroit-area tenure of the Franciscan friar.

Baker died of a self-inflicted knife wound at St. Bernardine Monastery near Altoona, Pa.

“We’re asking the bishop to acknowledge it and ask that anybody abused by Baker to come forward,” said Matt Jatczak, a Detroit-area representative for SNAP.

Baker taught at St. Mary’s Prep during the mid-1980s, said Boston-based lawyer Mitchell Garabedian. Garabedian, who has specialized in abuse cases involving the Catholic church, cited Catholic directories from the time.

Garabedian successfully negotiated an out-of-court settlement for 11 men who alleged that Baker sexually molested them when he was a teacher and coach at Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio from about 1986-1990. Garabedian said he publicly revealed Baker’s name when he announced the settlement earlier this month.

Since the settlement was announcement Jan.16, at least 35 other men have come forward alleging that Baker molested them at schools in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Garabedian said Wednesday. Baker taught at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, Pa., in the 1990s.

“Those 11 victims have empowered other victims to come forward,” said Garabedian, calling Baker “a serial pedophile.”

“It would not surprise me that sexual abuse victims come forward who attended St. Mary’s.”

Orchard Lake St. Mary officials did not return calls for comment.

The Archdiocese of Detroit said it was investigating the issue.


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