Baker kept score for Mount Aloysius
CRESSON – Brother Stephen Baker, the Franciscan friar accused in dozens of molestations of boys before his Jan. 26 suicide in Blair Township, volunteered as a Mount Aloysius College baseball scorekeeper from 2007 to 2011, university officials said in a statement Friday.
A college investigation found no evidence that Baker had contact with any minors or abused anyone at the college, a Mount Aloysius release said.
Baker’s time at Mount Aloysius was years after he reportedly was removed from public ministry because of an alleged assault of a boy in the 1980s.
The Rev. Patrick Quinn, current head of the St. Bernardine Monastery in Hollidaysburg, stated in an email on Jan. 16 that Baker was removed from the public ministry in 2000 “upon the receipt of an allegation of a young man of a single event involving massage that occurred in the ’80s. That case not only resulted in Baker’s removal from ministry but also in the form of a lawsuit that was resolved in 2002.”
Mount Aloysius administrators launched an investigation into Baker’s time at the college after a staff member recalled his volunteer work, spokesman Jack Coyle said. They turned their findings over the Cambria County District Attorney’s Office Tuesday.
Baker worked exclusively as a scorekeeper, administrators said, and never held a coach or trainer position, as he did at Roman Catholic high schools in Ohio and Johnstown.
“Baker did not supervise practices or coach, and he never attended a practice or game without significant presence of other [Mount] Aloysius coaches and officials,” the release stated.
Before his suicide at St. Bernardine’s Monastery, Baker, 62, was accused of molesting teenage boys at multiple Catholic schools, including Bishop McCort in Johnstown. Accusers said he used his position as a trainer, teacher and baseball coach to contact his alleged victims.
Coyle said administrators looked into Baker’s volunteer work, which began in 2007 and ended partly into the 2011 season, without encouragement from legal authorities.
“We investigated on our own,” he said. “Somebody recalled that he was here after the initial news came out.”
Coyle said he was unaware of any similar work Baker might have done at other Catholic universities.
St. Francis University spokeswoman Marie Young said administrators found no record of Baker among paid employees and couldn’t recall any time he would have volunteered there.
Baker worked at Bishop McCort from the early 1990s to 2000, though he continued to visit the school for years afterward.
His volunteer work at Mount Aloysius coincided with his time at the St. Joseph Friary and the St. Bernardine Monastery in Blair County.
Representatives of the Cambria County District Attorney’s Office did not return calls seeking comment Friday.