Wed. 11:06am: Diocese gets notice of lawsuit

YOUNGSTOWN – The Diocese of Youngstown confirmed today it has been notified of a coming civil lawsuit on behalf of victims who say they were abused by a Franciscan friar.

Nancy L. Yuhasz, chancellor, said the matter has been turned over the attorney representing the diocese.

“There’s really not a lot to say at this point,” she explained. “There’s nothing to comment on at this point. It’s basically letting us know there could be a lawsuit.”

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, the Third Order Regular Franciscans and Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown, Pa., were also to be served with similar notices.

Greensburg attorney Susan Williams said a writ of summons that she filed in Cambria County Court last week on behalf of three men who say they were victims are claiming negligence on the part of the institutions. The Blair County and Cambria County sheriff’s offices mailed certified notifications on Saturday, Williams said.

Brother Stephen Baker is accused of abusing boys he coached at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren from 1986 to 1990, and then at McCort in the 1990s. He worked at the schools as a teacher and athletic trainer. Baker committed suicide Saturday morning at St. Bernardine Monastery in Hollidaysburg, where he lived. In a letter found in his room at the monastery, Baker apologized to the church, Blair County Coroner Patty Ross said.