Thu. 1:34pm: Detroit Archdiocese: No record of abuse with Baker

The Detroit Archdiocese is reporting that it has no record of sexual abuse complaints brought against Brother Stephen Baker during his two years in Michigan.

The archdiocese made the statement on its website after members of SNAP, a support group for clergy sex abuse victims, called on it to investigate whether Baker had sexually abused any of his students while teaching at Orchard Lakes Schools from 1983 to 1985.

Baker is accused of abusing former students while he was working at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren from 1986 to 1990 and then at Bishop McCort in the 1990s. He committed suicide Saturday morning at St. Bernardine Monastery in Hollidaysburg, Pa., where he lived. In a letter found in his room at the monastery, Baker apologized to the church, the Blair County Coroner’s Office confirmed.

In its statement, the Detroit Archdiocese confirmed that Baker, a Franciscan friar, took classes and worked at Orchard Lakes Schools. However, the archdiocese explained that OLS reports that it does not have any record of an abuse complaint during or after those years.

The statement reads: “Neither the archdiocese nor OLS ever received any reports/advisories from the other locations where Brother Baker subsequently worked. Additionally, we were not informed of the legal claims made against Brother Baker or his apparent suicide last weekend. SNAP’s criticism of the archdiocese makes absolutely no sense. How and why would the archdiocese be criticized as negligent for not disclosing information it did not have?”

No criminal charges were filed against Baker. However, last month two of his former JFK students disclosed at a news conference that they, along with nine other alleged victims, had reached a settlement with the Youngstown Diocese and the Third Order Regular Franciscans.