A serial predator cleric who is alleged to have abused at least 80 kids in Pennsylvania and Ohio also molested a boy in Minnesota in the late 1970’s.
On Saturday, a Youngstown Ohio radio station reported that Br. Stephen Baker of the Franciscan order molested Douglas Larson when he was in eighth grade in 1977. Larson later settled a case with the St. Paul/Minneapolis archdiocese in 2005.
Baker was assigned to St. Patrick’s Church in Inver Grove Heights, MN between 1975 and 1982. That parish had long been staffed by priests and brothers from the Franciscan order. SNAP believes there is a good possibility that Baker abused more kids in the Twin Cities area.
“Since the initial allegations against Br. Baker were announced, no church official in the Twin Cities area came forward to say ‘yes, he abused kids here too,’” said David Clohessy, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “Knowing not that Baker abused at least one kid here, we want to know if there were any other victims.”
Five months ago, the 11 men settled with the Youngstown diocese and Baker’s direct supervisors, the Franciscans. Again, no church officials made this public, but they were announced on January 16 by the attorney for the victims.
Since then, another 69 individuals have reported being victimized by Baker. Many come from the Altoona-Johnstown diocese in Pennsylvania, where Baker worked at Bishop McCort High in Johnstown.
SNAP wants Archbishop John C. Nienstedt to disclose whether Baker allegedly molested kids in the Twin Cities area. They also want him to use his archdiocesan website, archdiocesan newspaper, parish bulletins and pulpit announcements to beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered Baker’s crimes to come forward.
“There have been so many allegations that it’s almost impossible to believe that there is only one victim in Minnesota,” said Clohessy. “It’s time for Twin Cities archdiocesan staff to end their dangerous secrecy and come clean about Br. Baker today.”
On Jan. 26, Baker committed suicide at St. Bernardine Monastery in Blair County, PA.
The victim is Douglas Larson, 49, of St. Cloud, MN. He was represented by St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson. (651-227-9990, 612-817-8665 cell)