Coroner: Baker apologized in note

Brother Stephen Baker left a suicide note apologizing for his actions. He died of a self-inflicted stab wound to the heart Saturday morning at a Hollidaysburg monastery.

“It was not addressed to anyone specific,” Blair County Coroner Patty Ross said.

The note was just a few lines. Baker has been accused of sexually abusing dozens of children ages 14 to 17 while serving as teacher and athletic trainer at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio, and Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown.

“The note was an apology for his behavior,” Ross said.

His suicide, she added, was likely planned “for a long time.”

Deputy Coroner Brian Reidy, who is also a police officer, was at St. Bernardine Monastery Saturday morning to investigate the scene of the death in Baker’s room.

Homicide was ruled out for factors including fingerprints and no blood splatter.

“We treat every scene like a crime scene,” Ross said.

Greensburg attorney Susan Williams, representing three former Bishop McCort students, called the suicide “another layer of the tragedy.”

More layers may be exposed as she has filed a writ against the Third Order Regular Franciscan Friars, Bishop McCort High School, the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the Diocese of Youngstown.

Three additional attorneys are still in the process of investigating claims against Baker.

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian questions what role Baker’s supervisors had in enabling Baker, who he characterized as a “serial pedophile.”

Attorneys are representing dozens of alleged victims.

“The defendants are in the process of being served,” Williams said Monday. “Then we will get some contact with them.”

The investigation is ongoing, police said.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.