YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown Diocese is responding to a request from a nonprofit advocate for victims of sexual abuse that an investigation be launched into the diocese.
Road to Recovery made the request after a grand jury report on alleged sexual abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese in Pennsylvania was released. That investigation claims that the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children, including abuse by Brother Stephen Baker, who was on staff at Warren JFK in the late 1980s.
In 2013, the Youngstown Diocese announced abuse settlements with 11 former students of Baker’s. Road to Recovery says 28 more students are still waiting for Bishop George Murry to settle their claims.
Monsignor John Zuraw, chancellor of the Diocese of Youngstown, said the diocese does not have a secret archive, nor does it have secret files. He said the situation is completely different from one that was reported at the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese.
“This is the second wave of individuals who have come forward,” he said.
Zuraw said the diocese is working with its legal counsel and the victims’ legal counsel. While he said the diocese had no idea of Brother Baker’s inappropriate behavior, the Youngstown Diocese did reach out to staff and teachers who were at JFK.
He said the staff that was contacted said they weren’t aware of the alleged abuse.
The mother of an alleged victim who committed suicide said she has been trying to meet with Bishop Murry for two and a half years.
Zuraw denied that is the case.
“Through our legal counsel, we notified her legal counsel, extending that invitation. At that point, no response was given,” he said.
Monsignor Zuraw said a proposed settlement was submitted two weeks ago and is under review.