In brief: Lawyer says church shouldn’t cancel talks

April 28, 2014

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A lawyer representing 33 alleged victims of clergy sex abuse is urging the Roman Catholic church not to pull out of planned mediation.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said Sunday the withdrawal will re-traumatize his clients and prevent them from healing. Talks had been scheduled to take place this week in Philadelphia.

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown said Friday that it’s suspending settlement talks until state authorities finish their investigation of Brother Stephen Baker.

The Franciscan friar worked at Bishop McCort High School from 1992 to 2001. He committed suicide last year after being linked to abuse claims in Ohio.

A church spokesman said Sunday the diocese “intends to resume the settlement efforts” when it’s appropriate.

Advocates for Baker’s alleged victims are holding a news conference today in Hollidaysburg.

Brush fires close trail, rail line

Brush fires near Mineral Point temporarily closed a trail to the Staple Bend Tunnel and a section of Norfolk Southern rail line Sunday while fire crews battled the small blazes.

The small fires kept Cover Hill fire crews busy throughout much of the afternoon, a Cambria 911 supervisor said.

The rail line reopened at 4:50 p.m., the supervisor said.

Bedford County man found dead in woods

A northern Bedford County man found dead in the woods near his home died of natural causes, state police said Sunday.

Robert Blair Miller, 65, of Woodbury Township, was found early Sunday in a section of state gamelands that borders his property, state police in Bedford said.

A search for Miller was initiated after the man was reported missing by family, state police said. He left at noon the day before and family grew concerned when they did not hear back from him the rest of the day, police said.

Seven fire departments in Blair and Bedford counties assisted in the search until Miller’s body was found at 10 a.m. Sunday morning, state police added.


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