VA - Serial predator cleric worked in Norfolk
- Serial predator cleric worked in Norfolk
- More than 80 kids say he molested them
- Eleven settlements were just disclosed in January
- He committed suicide a week after announcement
- Church officials in five states concealed allegations
- SNAP: “How many other child molesting clerics are still hidden?”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose that a recently accused child molesting cleric worked in the Richmond Diocese in Virginia at a school. The offender killed himself in January and has allegedly assaulted more than 80 kids. The group will urge Richmond Catholic officials to
--disclose whether he’s allegedly molested any Virginia kids, and
--start aggressively seeking out others in Virginia who he may have molested.
They will also
--urge victims, and whistleblowers to contact secular authorities, not church officials, and
--beg anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered clergy crimes in Richmond (by this cleric or others) to come forward, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.
Monday, Feb. 11 at 12 noon
Outside the Richmond Catholic Diocese headquarters (“chancery office”), 7800 Carousel Lane at the Shrader Road entrance in Richmond, VA
Three - four members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including the organization’s Virginia area leader
SNAP has learned that a credibly accused child predator who recently committed suicide worked in the 1970’s in the Richmond diocese. He’s Franciscan Brother Stephen P. Baker who was assigned to the James Barry Robinson High School and Home for Boys in Norfolk in 1970's. Robinson High School closed in 1977 and became a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children.
SNAP believes there is a good possibility that Baker abused kids in the Norfolk area.
“It’s extremely rare for a predator to abuse kids in one area and then stop when he moves elsewhere,” said Becky Ianni, leader of SNAP Virginia. “Especially with Br. Baker who we know abused kids in at least four states, we are concerned that he abused kids here as well.”
Catholic figures claim the first accusations against Baker surfaced in 2009 in the Youngstown, OH area. (SNAP believes other victims likely came forward long years earlier.) However, it has come to light that a civil case involving Br. Baker was settled in 2005 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul archdiocese. No church officials however, made this information public.
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. Two more victims have come forward in Detroit archdiocese.
On Jan. 26, Baker committed suicide at St. Bernardine Monastery in Blair County, PA.
SNAP wants Richmond Bishop Xavier DiLorenzo to disclose whether Baker allegedly molested kids in the Richmond area, and to use his diocesan website, diocesan newspaper, parish bulletins and pulpit announcements to beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered Baker’s crimes to come forward.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.