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Attorney drops intent to file suit against Bishop McCort
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- One of the
attorneys representing alleged victims of Brother Stephen Baker has withdrawn her intent to file civil lawsuits against Bishop McCort High School and the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. But Greensburg attorney Susan Williams says that doesn't mean she still can't in the future. In the meantime, another attorney told 6 News Tuesday that he's already in settlement talks.
"Where were the supervisors? What Brother Stephen Baker
did to these children over the course of years was open and notorious," said Mitchell Garabedian. "Why weren't the supervisors protecting innocent children?"
That's a question the Boston attorney has asked since
January, when he first started hearing from alleged victims of Baker, the friar accused of molesting dozens of young boys while he worked at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in the '80s and early '90s.
"I think all victims that have come forward regarding (Baker) have empowered themselves and they are empowering other victims in making the world a safer place for children," said Garabedian. "They should be proud of themselves for speaking up at this point. It takes an enormous amount of courage to do that."
and Williams are two of at least four attorneys representing alleged victims. Williams filed notice in Cambria County court in January of her intent to sue the diocese, the Third Order Regular Franciscans and Bishop McCort, on behalf of three clients.
In a statement sent to 6 News on Friday though, Williams said she withdrew those cases after pressure from Bishop McCort's own
council requesting her to file suit. She said that, "would require (her) office to file a complaint setting forth in detail the allegations against Baker. (Something that would cause her discussions) to likely come to a halt, and fail."
Garabedian said he's already in settlement talks for his clients and said he hopes the process will be complete within a few months.
"You never know what's going to happen and you try to work through the basic issues and there are numerous obstacles," said Garabedian. "Sometime things work out and you can settle these cases and sometimes you have to litigate them."