HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. - For years as his alleged crimes against those students went unreported, Brother Stephen P. Baker, a Franciscan friar based in Hollidaysburg, had a presence at Altoona and Johnstown Catholic schools.
Baker's presence among area youths includes his role on the Bishop McCort High School baseball team in Johnstown, Pa., in the late 1990s and mid-2000s. He also served in 1998 on the Confirmation Committee for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, which developed confirmation preparation guidelines in April 1998.
Baker is a friar of the Third Order Regular based at St. Bernardine's monastery in Hollidaysburg.
When reached about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday in his room at St. Bernardine's, he told Tribune news partner WYTV 33 that he was shocked when told of the accusations.
"I'm flabbergasted," Baker said. "I'll have to ask my superiors if I can say anything."
The Rev. Patrick Quinn, major superior of the T.O.R. Franciscan, said Baker has been removed from all public ministry. Quinn said Baker has been living under strict supervision in which he has no contact with minors.
Quinn said his position is similar to a bishop overseeing priests.
"Brother Stephen has and continues to be removed from all public ministry and is living under supervision in which he has no contact with minors," Quinn wrote in a statement.
"The Province encourages anyone who has been harmed by Br. Stephen Baker or any of its members to contact the Minister Provincial (Quinn)," he wrote.