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March 1, 2013

Ken Salem on leave at McCort

JOHNSTOWN — Ken Salem is no longer principal at Bishop McCort Catholic High School.

He was placed on administrative leave with pay. The school informed members of its community about the change via email on Friday.

It stated: “Effective immediately, Mr. Ken Salem will no longer serve as Principal of Bishop McCort Catholic High School. In Mr. Salem’s place, the Bishop McCort Board of Trustees has unanimously appointed our current Assistant Principal, Dr. D.A. Gardill, to fill the position of Acting Principal on an interim basis.”

No reason was given for the decision.

“The board, out of respect for its employees, does not make comments on employment matters,” said a spokesperson for the board.

Bishop McCort has recently been involved in a scandal involving Franciscan Brother Stephen Baker.

Baker has been accused of molesting numerous students throughout the 1990s when he worked at the school as a trainer. Baker committed suicide on Jan. 26 by stabbing himself in the heart with a knife.

The school made no mention of the ongoing Baker investigation in its email.

However, Salem’s attorney, George W. Bills Jr., mentioned the Baker incident directly in a statement.

“The unfortunate actions of Brother Stephen Baker were unknown to Ken Salem and he has been shocked and grieved to discover that these incidents of abuse occurred. Mr. Salem prays every day for the victims of Brother Baker and hopes that everyone impacted by Brother Baker’s heinous acts finds healing and justice,” the attorney wrote.

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