- Victims blast bishop over secrecy about predator
- SNAP suspects prelate kept silent about allegation for a year
- “How many other accusations is the bishop hiding?” group asks
- Support group discloses that just “outed” cleric was at a third school too
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--disclose that a just “outed” credibly accused child molesting cleric worked at third Catholic school,
-- beg anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered his crimes to come forward, and
--urge his victims and victims of other Johnstown clerics- to report to police officials, not church officials.
They also want to know why Johnstown Catholic officials delayed for over a year before releasing information about the alleged predator to the public.
Wednesday, January 23, at 11:00 a.m.
In front of the Johnstown Police Station at 401 Washington Street (corner of Market St.), Johnstown, PA
Two to three members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
A support group for victims of clergy abuse is blasting Johnstown Catholic officials and reaching out to victims of a recently ‘outed’ child molesting cleric.
He is Brother Stephen P. Baker, who allegedly molested students while working at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown and also molested kids in the Youngstown Ohio area. Leaders of SNAP are urging others who were at the schools while he was there to “come forward now.”
Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Bartchak claims he first learned of an allegation against Baker in November 2011. Leaders of SNAP highly doubt this. Regardless, the group wants Bartchack to publicly explain why he stayed silent about the accusation for at least a year.
Baker is accused of abusing at least 11 young boys in Ohio a decade before the abuse at Bishop McCort. Settlements were reached with these victims months ago, but Catholic officials kept silent about the settlements. They were revealed only last week.
“We urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered abuse by Baker to come forward, tell the police, and start healing,” said SNAP’s Judy Jones.
“This bishop continues to act recklessly, callously and secretively,” said Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director. “Only vigorous efforts by law enforcement can fully find and expose the truth so that kids can be safer, predators can be pursued and victims can truly heal.”
Last week, Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian (617-523-6250, 866-345-2214, firstname.lastname@example.org) disclosed that he settled 11 child sex abuse cases last year against Baker who worked in the Youngstown area as a religion teacher, sports trainer & baseball coach. Diocesan staff learned of the allegations in 2009 but kept quiet for years, even after the cases were resolve.
SNAP believes such silent violates the US bishops national abuse policy which mandates “openness and transparency” in clergy sex cases. It also gives wrongdoers like Baker and his supervisors who concealed his crimes ample opportunity to intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers, discredit witnesses, destroy evidence and fabricate alibis.
SNAP has also just learned that Baker also worked in Norfolks VA at the James Barry Robinson Home for Boys, which later became a high school http://jamesbarryrobinson.org/id20.html
SNAP is encouraging all those who have seen, suspected, or suffered crimes - in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia - to report to police officials, not to church officials.
“We know it’s hard to find the courage to come forward,” said Jones. “But it makes a huge difference. Please, speak up, get help, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.”
Jones continued: “Silence is a predator’s best weapon.”
Baker now also faces allegations in Johnstown PA at another Catholic school, Bishop McCort High. Some of the Johnstown victims are represented by Altoona attorney Richard Serbin (814-944-6111, email@example.com).
A photo of Baker is available at BishopAccountability.org, along with information about six other proven, admitted or credibly accused Youngstown area Catholic clerics.
Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian (617-523-6250, 866-345-2214, firstname.lastname@example.org) represents some of Baker’s Youngstown victims. Some of the Johnstown victims are represented by Altoona attorney Richard Serbin (814-944-6111, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).