PHILADELPHIA — A Franciscan friar accused of sexually abusing students at Catholic high schools in Ohio and Pennsylvania killed himself at a western Pennsylvania monastery, police said Saturday.
Brother Stephen Baker, 62, was found dead of self-inflicted wounds at the St. Bernardine Monastery in Hollidaysburg on Saturday morning, Blair Township Police Chief Roger White told the Associated Press. He declined to specify the type of wounds or say whether a note was found.
Baker was named in legal settlements last week involving 11 men who alleged that he sexually abused them at a Catholic high school in northeast Ohio three decades ago. The undisclosed financial settlements announced Jan. 16 involved his contact with students at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio from 1986-90.
The Youngstown diocese previously said it was unaware of the allegations until nearly 20 years after the alleged abuse.
Let us continue to pray for all victims of abuse, for Brother Baker's family and the repose of his soul, Youngstown Bishop George Murray said in a statement Saturday.
After the settlements were announced, the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese in central Pennsylvania said it received complaints in 2011 of possible abuse by Baker at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Bishop McCort High School hired an attorney to investigate after several former students alleged they were molested by Baker in the 1990s.