Additional Claims Against Br. Stephen Baker
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 20:08

               The Diocese of Youngstown has received a settlement request on behalf of an additional 25 alleged victims of Brother Stephen Baker, T.O.R. The letter, dated October 17, 2013, was sent from Attorney Mitchell Garabedian to diocesan attorneys with a settlement demand of $1 million for each claim. The Third Order Regular Franciscans (T.O.R.) received a similar letter with the same demand.

            The Diocese of Youngstown will follow its standard pastoral practice in this matter, as it does in any allegation of child abuse. First, at the recommendation of the predominately lay Diocesan Review Board, the Diocese will investigate each claim. If any of the claims are found to be credible, the Diocese will offer financial assistance for counseling. Additionally, Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., Bishop of Youngstown, will meet with any victim who wants to speak with him personally.

            On January 25, 2013, Bishop Murry wrote to 11 victims also represented by Mitchell Garabedian after the Diocese of Youngstown and the T.O.R. Franciscans settled with those victims. In that letter, the bishop apologized for Brother Baker’s actions and offered to meet with them individually. Brother Baker took his own life on January 26, 2013.

            On January 31, 2013, to determine the extent of Brother Stephen Baker’s alleged sexual misconduct and to offer the diocese’s assistance to any victims of Brother Baker, Bishop Murry reached out via letter to over 1900 alumni of John F. Kennedy School who were students during the time Brother Baker was on the faculty. Only two people responded.

 

            Bishop Murry stated, “I am deeply sorry for the pain suffered by survivors of abuse due to the actions of some members of the Church community. The Diocese of Youngstown will continue to respond in a pastoral way to victims of child sexual abuse. In all we do, nothing is more important than protecting our children.”

            For information about the Diocese of Youngstown Child Protection Policy, contact Nancy Yuhasz at 330-744-8451.