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Franciscan Brother Who Sexually Abused Boy in Inver Grove Heights Commits Suicide

The victim, who was abused by Brother Stephen Baker in the 1970s at St. Patrick’s Church, came forward with details after the friar killed himself on Jan. 26 in a Pennsylvania monastery.

A Franciscan brother who committed suicide on Jan. 26 in the midst of wide-ranging sexual abuse allegations also abused a Minnesotan boy while he was teaching catechism in the 1970s at St. Patrick’s Church in Inver Grove Heights.

Brother Stephen Baker, 62, was found dead in a Hollidaysburg, Penn., monastery as a result of a self-inflicted knife wound to the heart, the Associated Press reported.

Douglas Larson, 49, of St. Cloud, Minn., told a Youngstown, Ohio, television station that he felt closure when he heard about the suicide and that he felt his name should be public because he had done nothing wrong.

“This is a chapter in my book that is closed,” Larson told WKBN-TV. “He can’t do anything to me or anybody else.”

Larson told the station he believed he was one of Baker's first victims. Baker later taught at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio, and Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, Penn, according to WKBN-TV, and more than 80 former students claimed he had sexually abused them.

Larson settled with the Third Order Regular Franciscans for $50,000 in 2005. Baker worked as a gardener at a monastery after the settlement.

Larson was in eighth grade when he met Baker. His mother also taught religion classes at St. Patrick's.

“I think it just depresses you,” Larson told WKBN-TV. “You feel dirty. You’re like, what did I do that he wanted to be with me? I always felt dirty, even after when I was with a woman. There were times I drank a lot. There hasn’t been a week that’s gone by that it hasn’t come up in my mind.”

Diane Baum February 07, 2013 at 07:08 PM
I am a Catholic, I went to St Patrick's for instruction to convert in 1987. I am appalled at what is happening in this church (not just St Patrick's, but worldwide). Although I still feel a close kinship with the rituals of prayers, rosaries, etc, the purity of the traditions is now tainted. it breaks my heart to know that there are those who have taken advantage of children in the past. What goes through their minds that they feel compelled to do this and more.....how do they live with themselves afterwards? This brother obviously had misgivngs or he would not have taken his own life. I blame the church leaders for sweeping it under the rug as they have. Is it too little, too late to acknowledge it now? I do not sit in judgment of those who committed these crimes against others....evil exists, this we all know. It is how we deal with evil and bring good out of the pain, that is what is important. My prayers for peace go out to all who have been affected by these heinous acts...may God have mercy on all involved.
Joseph February 08, 2013 at 01:37 PM
Here is a list of 173 accused Minnesota clerics --- http://mnsnap.wordpress.com/villainous-mn-clerics/ If you, a loved family member or a friend has been injured by clergy sexual abuse and desire confidential discussion, contact me. Bob Schwiderski, MN SNAP Director Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests 952-471-3422 or skibrs@q.com

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