.Two Franciscan friars who supervised another friar who fatally stabbed himself in the heart while facing child molestation claims pleaded no contest to child endangerment charges Friday and were sentenced to five years of probation.
Prosecutors say Robert J. D’Aversa, 71, of Hollidaysburg, failed to tell officials at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown that he reassigned the friar, Brother Stephen Baker, in 2000 because of new credible allegations about Baker’s past.
They also say Anthony J. Criscitelli, 64, of Hollidaysburg, knew a safety plan was in place for Baker, but still allowed him to potentially be around children.
Messages left for their lawyers were not immediately returned.
“These defendants knew the abuser was a serious threat to children — but they allowed him to engage with children and have access to them as part of his job within their order,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro , a Democrat. “They chose time and time again to prioritize their institution’s reputation over the safety of victims.”
Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented 86 victims of Baker in civil litigation in three states, said the two defendants knew Baker posed a serious threat to children.