Another claim filed in Baker case

A woman is the latest person to allege being sexually abused by Brother Stephen Baker while she was a student at Johnstown’s Bishop McCort High School.

Altoona attorney Richard M. Serbin said he has notified the diocese that he is representing a female who claims she began being sexually abused by the Franciscan friar when she was 15, while he served as an athletic trainer at Bishop McCort.

“Information has come to my attention which leads me to believe other female athletes and cheerleaders were also sexually abused by Brother Baker, in addition to the numerous male students who have already come forward to disclose they were victimized by this child predator,” Serbin said in a release.

He added, “It also appears that Brother Baker was involved with middle school children, who were participating in parish sponsored programs.”

Serbin described the abuse of the woman as “massaging of areas of the female anatomy that are closed.”

Dozens of males claim they were similarly assaulted by Baker, who worked at Bishop McCort from the early 1990s to 2000. Baker maintained a presence at the school after that.

The female, like the others, went to Baker because she understood he was an athletic trainer, Serbin said.

Baker committed suicide on Jan. 26 at St. Bernardine Monastery in Hollidaysburg. He left a note apologizing for his actions.

In October, John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio, the Diocese of Youngstown and the Third Order Regular of the Franciscan Friars settled claims by 11 men who said Baker sexually abused them while he was a coach and trainer at their school in the mid-1980s.

That news spurred others, including some in central Pennsylvania, to make similar claims.