Five more claim abuse at JFK

A day after it was revealed 11 men who claimed to be molested at John F. Kennedy High School in the mid-1980s reached a settlement, five other men have stepped forward to claim they were abused by the same person.

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney who represented the 11, said Thursday the five men came forward after news of the settlement was revealed Wednesday and two of the 11 men spoke to the media. Garabedian said another man contacted him after the settlement was revealed.

As with those 12, Garabedian said the five on Thursday claimed to have been abused by Brother Stephen Baker, a Franciscan brother who was baseball coach at the school at the time. The abuse also covered the same time period, from 1986 to 1990, Garabedian said.

He said the men contacted him either by phone or email. The number of people who now claimed to have been abused by Baker is 17.

The five men who came forward all played sports for JFK, said Garabedian, who specializes in cases involving abuse by clergy. Baker was also athletic trainer for the Eagles then.

He said the men are scattered across the country. He would not say if any of them are still in the Mahoning Valley.

The two men who spoke Wednesday said that often, the abuse by Baker took place when he treated injuries for them when they were injured or would tell the players they needed treatments to prevent injury.

The first 11 reached a settlement with the Diocese of Youngstown, JFK and a representative of the Franciscan order that was finalized in October. The amount of the settlement was not given.

The diocese has said it knew nothing of the claims until Garabedian first started investigating them in 2009 and they urged anyone who was abused by clergy to contact the diocese and police. The diocese has said that when it heard of the allegations, it contacted Trumbull County Children’s Services.

Garabedian said his investigation will consist of interviewing all five men, as well as collecting records and cross checking other records to make sure Baker was at the school when they were.

At some point, he said he will be contacting the parties he made the settlement with again.

Garabedian said he is not surprised more people came forward and that sometimes people take years because of the way the event has affected them.

”People come forward when their coping mechanism allows them,” Garabedian said.