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About 50 more say friar abused them

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By The Associated Press
Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

TOLEDO, Ohio — About 50 more people have come forward to say they were sexually abused at Catholic schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio by a Franciscan brother who killed himself in January, said an attorney who settled 11 alleged abuse cases against the friar.

Brother Stephen Baker, 62, stabbed himself in the heart at a Pennsylvania monastery on Jan. 26, a little over a week after the disclosure of financial settlements in alleged abuse cases in Warren, Ohio. A coroner told the Altoona Mirror that Baker left a short note apologizing for his actions.

The new accusers have alleged in recent weeks that they were abused between 1982 and 2007, attorney Mitchell Garabedian said Sunday. Some said Baker abused them even after he left teaching in 2000 when he would attend school events in Johnstown, Pa., Garabedian said.

The latest allegations come from people in 12 states who went to school in Warren or were either middle school or high school students in Johnstown, where Baker taught and coached, Garabedian said.

The Boston attorney said he's also heard from four people who say they were abused while Baker was at a high school in Orchard Lake, Mich.

Baker was named in legal settlements in January involving 11 men who alleged he sexually abused them at a Catholic high school in Warren, Ohio, three decades ago. Baker taught and coached at John F. Kennedy High School in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was at Bishop McCort in Johnstown from 1992 to 2000. He taught in Michigan in the mid-1980s.

The Youngstown diocese has said it was unaware of the allegations until nearly 20 years after the alleged abuse.

Messages seeking comment were left with the Youngstown diocese and the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese on Sunday.

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