Police Investigating Blair County Friarís Reported Suicide

By Maria Miller
July 1, 2015

Another friar at a monastery in Altoona has taken his own life following what appears to be an investigation by state officials. The Blair County Coronerís Office confirmed Wednesday that David Kaczmarek died by means of hanging. His death was ruled a suicide. The 53-year-old was found Sunday morning at the St. Bernadine Monastery of the Immaculate Conception Province just two days after authorities reportedly took pictures outside and computers and documents from inside. The monastery is part of the Franciscan Friars Third Order Regular, defining itself online as a home for retired members of the religious community, but itís not clear how long Kaczmarek resided there or where he came from. Searches online and through 6 News archives show no records of Kaczmarek locally, but his picture does appear on their website several times and lists addresses for him in Minnesota and Florida Ė both states where the friars have ministries. We also found that heís a published author with his 2008 book about love, friendship and discipleship in the gospel currently for sale on Amazon. On Wednesday, 6 News spoke with Altoona attorney Richard Serbin. He has represented dozens of victims of clergy sexual abuse for the past several decades. Serbin represented many alleged victims of Brother Stephen Baker, the Franciscan Friar accused of abusing dozens of boys in Ohio and at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown decades ago. A friar who too committed suicide at the same monastery in Blair County in 2013. Serbin said he doesnít know whether a current investigation is linked to Brother Baker, or if itís something new, but says of all the clients heís represented in the past, Kaczmarekís name is not one that he recognizes. WJAC-TV reached out the diocese of Altoona-Johnstown as well as the Franciscan Friars and the monastery itself on Wednesday, but did not hear back. As with any case, the Pennsylvania Attorney Generalís Office said it couldnít even comment if there is or isnít an investigation. We also placed calls with several local police departments including Hollidaysburg and Blair Township. Officers with Blair Township said they couldnít release any information without talking with their chief who wonít be back until Thursday morning.








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