- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (AP) - Agents with the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office have seized documents and computers from a monastery where a Franciscan friar killed himself after he was accused of sexually abusing students at schools in two states.

The office has refused to comment on Thursday’s raid at the St. Bernardine Monastery near Hollidaysburg because Deputy Attorney General Dan Dye, the prosecutor leading the investigation, said search warrants remained sealed.

Clergy and monastery officials present during the search declined comment and monastery officials didn’t return a call for comment from The Associated Press on Friday.

Brother Stephen Baker, 62, stabbed himself in the heart in January 2013, nine days after the Roman Catholic diocese in Youngstown, Ohio, settled abuse claims with 11 former students who said they were abused by him at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio, from 1986 to 1990.

News of that settlement immediately prompted former students of the former Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown to come forward with similar allegations against Baker who worked at the school 60 miles east of Pittsburgh, from 1992 to 2001.

Those allegations have prompted scores of abuse claims, 88 of which were settled for a total of $8 million in October, with several more being settled since.

The Altoona-Johnstown diocese operated the high school when Baker was an athletic trainer there. Diocesan spokesman Tony DeGol referred comment to monastery officials and noted the monastery is not affiliated with the diocese despite being located within its boundaries.

The school, now known as Bishop McCort Catholic High School, is now run by a private board, not the diocese. Spokesman Matt Beynon said school officials don’t know anything about the search.

“We read about the search yesterday like everyone else,” Beynon told the AP in an email Friday. “We do not know any more than what has been reported.”

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