Below is the complete statement from the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown on the report that Franciscan Brother Stephen P. Baker sexually abused at least 11 Warren John F. Kennedy High School students, as many as 25 times each, from 1986 through 1990.
Nancy L. Yuhasz, Chancellor
Yearbook photo of Steve Baker
Comment on "Road to Recovery, Inc." Press Conference
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The Diocese of Youngstown first became aware of the misconduct allegation through correspondence from the former John F. Kennedy students' attorney in 2009. Neither the diocese nor John F. Kennedy High School had any knowledge of the allegations of abuse while Brother Baker served at the school. Although the abuse is said to have occurred prior to 1991, the allegations were not reported by the former students to the school or the diocese until nearly 20 years later. As soon as the Diocese of Youngstown became aware of the allegations, we reported them to Trumbull County Children's Services.
The diocese realizes that victims often have difficulty reporting abuse until many years after it occurs. Although the Diocese of Youngstown had no legal liability in this case, the diocese voluntarily participated in a mediation process with the former students, their attorneys, and representatives of the T.O.R. Franciscan Order.
Brother Baker has never been a member of the clergy of the Diocese of Youngstown, but is a member of the T.O.R. Franciscan Brothers and was a teacher at John F. Kennedy High School from 1986-1991. Brother Baker did not admit to the allegations, but is currently living under the strict supervision of the T.O.R. Franciscan Order. He is not teaching or involved in any public ministry.
The Diocese of Youngstown encourages anyone who may have experienced sexual abuse by clergy or others associated with the Church to notify civil authorities and to contact the diocesan victim assistance coordinator (330-744-8451).
The Diocese of Youngstown Child Protection Policy may be found on the diocesan website, www.doy.org or by calling (330-744-8451) for a copy.
Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., Bishop of Youngstown, said, "The Diocese of Youngstown continues to be committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims of abuse. I am deeply sorry for the pain suffered by survivors of abuse, because nothing is more important than protecting our children."
January 16, 2013