JOHNSTOWN — Editor’s note: The following was submitted to The Tribune-Democrat by the Bishop McCort Catholic High School Board of Trustees by Matt Beynon, a school spokesman. Board members, according to the school’s website, are: Bishop Mark Bartchak, Mark Pasquerilla, Jack Buchan, Mike Price, Lou Mihalko, Nicholas Antonazzo, Paul Helsel, Dan Hummel, Richard Kastelic, Joe Martella, Thomas McAneny, the Rev. David Peles, Linda Thomson and trustee emeritus Msgr. Thomas Mabon.
Until January 2013, the Bishop McCort Catholic High School Board of Trustees guided the school’s leadership team on many positive ventures, with our goal being to ensure that Bishop McCort is one of the area’s best educational facilities and spiritual institutions.
But in January, this board was placed in a totally different situation – making choices none of us ever imagined, with the ultimate goal of saving Bishop McCort.
The stories we have learned of those who may have been violated by Brother Stephen Baker are sickening and heartbreaking. The pain and emotional scars that the victims carry are beyond what many of us can ever imagine. These victims must be embraced by our entire school family and community.
But faced with such horror, some in our community have understandably chosen to deny these acts could have occurred, lashing out at members of this board or, in some sad instances, the victims themselves. The facts the alleged victims, their counsel, and – to a certain extent – this board know may never be revealed to the public at large.
While the unavailability of such information is rare in an age when private matters are splashed over the Internet or the ticker at the bottom of a cable news channel, the unavailability of the information in this case does not mean it does not exist or that it is not true. Such denial and the division that it causes are but one more casualty of the type of abuse perpetrated by Brother Baker and only adds to the pain which the victims and the community suffer. The time has come for the community to accept that it may never know that which it does not know, and begin the healing process. To do any less is to harm those who have already been victimized and undermine the future of Bishop McCort.