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I was age five when the bishop stood over me and said, "Stop babbling about what the priest did to you." Then, forty years later... I started babbling.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Michael Baumann started a blog and in weeks found more victims of Robert Gibson and other Scranton area pedophile priests

(Summer Rerun, this story first appeared at City of Angels July 13, 2009.)

When Michael Baumann started Off My Knees Blog in fall 2008, he found other victims of pedophile priest Robert Gibson “who told almost exactly the exact same story as mine.”

Baumann told City of Angels, “The first emails were kind of strange, asking leading questions. I decided to email back, did he abuse you as well?" They were victims of Robert Gibson, or a sibling of a victim, one was a neighbor and Gibson as his parish priest raped him. "Names came back from our very small high school," Baumann said. "There were only 42 kids in the graduating class of Notre Dame in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.”

Since starting Off My Knees, Baumann is convinced blogs bring power and control of the message to the survivors. “To use a military term, we should use blogs and technology as a Force Multiplier, to make us more effective,” Baumann says. (See more on Network of Bloggers idea at bottom of blog.)

Left: Michael Baumann, Commander, US Navy, 2007

“Since starting the blog last October, I’ve talked to or corresponded with probably fifteen people from the Scranton area that had a connection to Father Gibson. They write they're concerned if siblings had been abused by him. One wrote an email, I recognized her name from my classmate, she was a friend of the family.

"She said her biggest fear when her mother passed away was that Gibson would show up at the funeral, because she was pretty sure that her two older brothers were abused by him. She was pretty sure they had been raped by Gibson.

“She alluded to conversations she had, problems her brothers had. I’ll be honest, one reason I joined the Navy was to get the hell out of Pennsylvania, I think it’s mostly because of him.”

Baumann says Gibson isolated him and molested him for a six month period when he was thirteen years old.

Baumann started the Off My Knees Blog in October 2008.

How did he reach so many people so fast?

"I tag everything," he said.

Baumann, a retired military officer now living and working in Virginia, describes how Gibson in a way stalked him past high school.

Above: Notre Dame High School, Scranton Diocese, as remodeled in 2004

“I went to college in Scranton,” Baumann said.

After graduating from Notre Dame in 1978, Baumann attended the University of Scranton, in Pennsylvania, and Gibson found him there.

“Gibson rolls into the restaurant where I was working downtown Scranton. Right away, I wanted to bolt. To go to my room, empty my bank account, go to the bus station, and go anywhere my money would take me.”

Baumann entered the Navy as an Ensign in 1982 as soon as he graduated college.

Gibson says he enlisted in part to get away from Gibson and Pennsylvania and everything from his teen years, post Gibson.

“After initial emails we had long conversations on the telephone, the guy telling me same story as what happened to me, Gibson had this routine down. "

City of Angels asked Baumann how his blog could have been so successful so quickly?

“I tag everything,” Baumann said. “I specifically wrote the posts to try to find other survivors. In Word Press, when I look at my stats, I can see where people have come in from, using what searches, and I get a lot of people looking by name for these priests. The first emails were kind of strange, asking leading questions. I decided to email back, did he abuse you as well.

“The first two people were victims of the same perpetrator as me, Father Robert Gibson. Those two persons told me almost exactly the same story as my own. One was the brother of a classmate of my brother’s who didn't go to my high school but Gibson was his parish priest.

“After initial emails we had long conversations on the telephone, the guy telling me same story as what happened to me, Gibson had this routine down.

“I’ve asked the diocese to notify jurisdictions where Gibson took me. They finally did, in Monroe County Pennsylvania, but the Statute Of Limitations is way past.”

Between 12 and 15 persons contacted Baumann (as of July 2009) through his blog Off My Knees.

“Of those 12 to 15, probably eight of them were siblings of someone they think was victimized or friends of someone molested by Father Gibson.”

By the same perpetrator


Between 12 and 15 persons, many connected to the same perpetrator as Baumann, have contacted him through his blog Off My Knees.

Baumann has also gotten emails from people who had other problems with the Diocese of Scranton.

‘The blog is a struggle because I still have in the back of my mind that no one is going to believe me.

“I think that people in our situation want to be able to do a blog but don’t know how, don't know if they can keep coming up with ideas. I agonize over what I put up with my blog. I gotta come up with idea, how graphic do I want to be.

“It’s a struggle because I still have in the back of my mind that no one is going to believe me. For all that time that he kept saying no one is going to believe me. I went into that in the post last night, no one is going to believe this crap. I have letter from Bishop of Scranton saying your allegations are credible, but I’ve also gotten things saying you're being disgraceful and maligning this good man of God."

In addition I have had emails from several people who were either victims or family of victims of other priests in the diocese of Scranton.

“I have spoken with two of Gibson's victims directly.

“One is bound by a confidentiality agreement with the Diocese from the 1990's as a result of a token settlement. I have the names of 8 other probable victims, since starting the blog. Some of these came from siblings of the potential victims, the other names came from the other victims who were painfully aware of what Gibson was doing.

"In addition I have had emails from several people who were either victims or family of victims of other priests in the diocese of Scranton. Some of those priests were on the Bishop Accountability website, two others Father Austin Flanagan and Father Houston (I don't have a first name) were not identified on the web until they were mentioned in my blog.

Flanagan was removed from ministry by the diocese based on allegations from one of two boys he molested. Houston's status is unknown at the time. His victims were girls (I am not sure why the Catholic Church feels molesting girls is not as bad as molesting boys?) The consensus of all these people is that the Bishops in Scranton have bullied victims in order to avoid the public scandal of more perp priests hitting the media. On my blog, there are links to newspaper articles in the Scranton/Wilkes Barre, there’s an area on priests in the Diocese of Scranton who have been accused/prosecuted. Among them is Robert Capparelli who was my parents' pastor at St Vincent's. My Dad has been sober since 1979. Capparerlli is the guy that got my father into a residential alcohol treatment facility.

“Capparelli was a prolific pedophile, known to the Diocese, who allegedly died of AIDS in prison in the mid 1990's.

ME: What about Gibson’s MO have you found out from other victims through your blog?

"He would usually identify families that were dysfunctional or vulnerable for whatever reason, alcoholism, death in the family - he would say he’d mentor the kids, be a good male role model."

"He would take us out of state, to New York to see Broadway plays.

"He would serve us alcohol, vodka usually, mixed with orange juice

At left, Mike Baumann at 13, age Gibson got to him.
"He took me to Disney World

“The two locations he took me out of state were New York City - Manhattan , and one Orlando Florida.

“He’d bring boys to the rectory."

“To use a military term, we should use blogs and technology as a Force Multiplier, to make us more effective.”

“Two gentlemen I spoke to directly from the blog told me same story, that Father Gibson took them to the Rectory at St. Luke’s.

“When Father Gibson was made pastor, he was building the rectory and he was living in the trailer. That's where I had my first experience with him. Then when it was finished, I guess the new rectory turned into his pleasure palace.

He was the only priest in the parish, but he had this huge showpiece rectory.

At Our Lady Queen of Peace In Brodheadsville PA

Accused pedophile priest Robert Gibson of Pennsylvanis is alive.

Gibson is currently in Price Memorial Hospital in Eureka, Missouri

That's just outside St. Vianney’s, the Servants of the Paracletes refuse for pedophile priests where Gibson had lived up to a few months ago.

Price Memorial Hospital in Eureka, Missouri.

“I found that out from somebody in the diocese. He’s been in the hospital about six months. It’s in another suburb of St. Louis,”

Protected by Servants of the Paracletes.

Who are in another suburb of St. Louis, a short cab ride away.

“He’s probably in his mid seventies now. I’ve been told he suffers from dementia,” Baumann said.

“They all seem to lose their memories from dementia or alcoholism or terminal foot fungus, whatever, it can decimate their memory. I don't know what he has or if he’s just hiding.

“He’s being sequestered outside anybody’s jurisdiction for a long time.”

ME: What would you say to someone who wanted to start a blog and start shadowing pedophile Catholic priests, but didn't know how, or thinks they aren’t smart enough?

Baumann: If they don't know how, I think I can demonstrate how easy it is, because if I can do it, just about anybody on Earth can. I'm not the most tech savvy person, people in my family are tech literate and they're my tech support.

“If somebody says they're not smart enough, you don't have to be smart.

“I’ll help them out.

“If somebody wants to send me a guest blog, I’ll cut and paste it in."

That's at Michael Baumann’s blog:
Off My Knees


Scranton Diocese Comes Clean on Abusive Priest

By Laura LegereThe Times-Tribune

September 27, 2008

The Diocese of Scranton has released the name and history of a priest who was found by the church to have sexually abused one boy in the 1970s and who is suspected of abusing at least three more. The diocese had never before disclosed the Rev. Robert Gibson as a sex offender.The diocese’s account of the priest opens a window on an internal process designed in the 1990s to allow the church to investigate and discipline its own spiritual leaders while also addressing emerging concerns about sexually abusive members of the clergy.The diocese released the account to address concerns voiced by one of the Rev. Gibson’s victims, now a 48-year-old retired Navy officer, who criticized the diocese’s policy for dealing with abuse victims after reading a story about other victims’ similar concerns published in The Sunday Times in July.In 2007, Michael Baumann, who now lives in Chesapeake, Va., told the diocese that the Rev. Gibson had sexually abused him in 1973 and 1974, when the Rev. Gibson was his eighth-grade religion teacher at Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School in East Stroudsburg.

And something else to think about:

Pope John Paul the Great High School

$49 million project begun in 2002 - near Arlington, Virginia

Great place for the Church to hide and launder money, as well as provide an educational opportunity in a setting replete with pedophile enablers for high school age children.

Pope John Paul the Great High School?

Finished in 2008 started in 2002

“Cost $ million” writes a friend in West Virginia. “Yes just a high school

“Talk about PR and wasn’t that a great way to divert money from other dioceses and hide assets!”
Don't forget to High $5 me through PayPal at top of left-hand column.


PREVIEW: Since starting his blog Off My Knees last fall, Michael Baumann, adult victim of a pedophile Catholic priest, has found dozens more victims of similar crimes from the same diocese. He's uncovered signs of conspiratorial aiding and abetting concerning perpetrator Father Robert Gibson and the Bishop of Scranton. Among other things, Baumann wrote the letter copied below to the the the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania May 19th. He's yet to get a reply of any kind.

Baumann reports to the U.S. Attorney that Gibson, used to take children across state lines. Baumann points out lies the Diocese of Scranton continues to tell Catholics in its parishes about pedophile priests, while sequestering them away from prosecution. Fraud, collusion and conspiracy in the Diocese of Scranton, and the U.S. Attorney does not reply. Here is the letter Baumann sent: Story to come this weekend.


12 May 2009 from: Michael Baumann, Chesapeake, VA, to:

United States Attorney
Middle District of Pennsylvania
William J. Nealon Federal Building and Courthouse235 N. Washington Ave., Suite 311Scranton, PA 18503


In 1974, at the age of 13, I was raped repeatedly over a period of approximately nine months by a priest assigned to the Diocese of Scranton. His name is Robert J.Gibson. The rapes and abuse were committed in the rectory of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania, a hotel in Orlando, Florida and a hotel in New York City as well as other locations. I know that I am not his only victim.

The Diocese of Scranton also knows that I am not his only victim. In 1998 they removed this man from the jurisdiction where he committed offenses against young boys and placed him in a church run facility in Missouri. At the time of his removal from ministry the Diocese had complaints against this priest and had not taken any action to report him to civil authority. He has been kept in comfort and away from any potential civil or criminal consequence in church run facilities outside of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 1998.

The Diocese of Scranton has had more than 16 publicly identified priests, and at least 10 others who have had their identities protected by the Bishops of the Diocese, accused of sexual crimes, misconduct or abuse in the last 50 years. In almost all cases they have covered up the crimes and moved the offending priests to other assignments or moved them outside of the reach of authorities that could have prosecuted them. They have shown a reckless disregard for the citizens in the geographic area covered by the Diocese and, in particular, the parishioners of parishes where these men were assigned.

The Bishops of Scranton have conspired with other church officials to keep these activities quiet and away from the attention of civil authorities to avoid prosecution of those who had been accused of committing acts from indecent exposure to statutory rape of young children. Having knowledge of such acts, the Diocese of Scranton has not made proper notification to law enforcement when a credible accusation has been made against a priest.

In my case, notifications were only made to law enforcement in accordance with Diocesan policy after I wrote directly to the Bishop to point out his failure to do so. They have failed, in almost all cases, to notify parishioners about the activities of these perpetrator priests (by name), willfully and recklessly placing children and vulnerable adults at risk as a result of their practice of hiding pedophile and sexually predatory priests.

They continued to defraud parishioners in the Diocese of Scranton by collecting money in the form of offerings and donations to individual parishes and to the Diocese of Scranton directly while diverting funds from legitimate church uses to pay the expenses of shielding criminal priests from prosecution. Funds, donated in good faith by the laity, are used to bankroll the ongoing criminal conspiracy that includes the obstruction of justice, paying off witnesses to these criminal acts and covering up the crimes through intimidation of victims. I am sure that the parishioners of the Diocese of Scranton would not support the use of their hard earned money to willingly support a criminal enterprise run from the Chancery in Scranton.

Additionally, they are potentially defrauding insurance carriers by using health insurance claims to pay the expenses of the priests they have kept sequestered to avoid prosecution or civil action.

I respectfully request that your office conduct a formal investigation into the Diocese of Scranton’s activities to hide sexual predators, obstruct justice and defraud parishioners in order to conceal the criminal activities of its priests and employees. I am seeking this investigation at the U.S. Attorney level because crimes committed included activities where children were taken across recognized state borders for the purpose of committing criminal activity as well actions by the Diocese to remove a priest accused of criminal activity from the jurisdiction where he could face trial.

Additionally, funds are being transferred across state lines to pay for the expenses of the acts of obstruction. The Diocese of Scranton thinks it is above the law and has recklessly continues to put parishioners at risk.

I can be reached at the address above or by phone at (757) --- ----. My email address is (REDACTED)

Documentation of my particular circumstances and acknowledgement from the Diocese of Scranton that I have filed a credible allegation against Robert J. Gibson will be made available upon your request or can be found at my blog, Off My Knees (

Very respectfully,
Michael B. Baumann


Posted by Kay Ebeling
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Friday, July 10, 2009

US Attorney ignores pedophile taking child across state lines, plus fraud, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy in Scranton

Monday, July 13, 2009

We had long conversations, the guy telling me the same story as what happened to me. Father Gibson had his routine down

And always more to come

City of Angels: A network of blogs could be the best way for crime victims of pedophile priests around the country to keep tabs on individual archdioceses, as well as a way to find each other, perhaps find other perpetrators, and expand and centralize coverage of sex crime cover-ups in the church across the country.

A network of bloggers

This is something we don't have to consciously start or form a 501(c)3 to make happen. This project takes little overhead, just a passion on the part of the blogger to get out the truth.

Baumann and I mainly communicate today about our mutual dream, of bloggers in every major city across the country, who are shadowing the local diocese, the local bishops, the shenanigans of attorneys hired by the bishops.

Blogs in each city could keep up with new cases as they get filed, uploading copies of documents that you are able to find in your own Superior Court archives, criminal court archives, documents attorneys for plaintiffs will send you once they start knowing they can trust you.

My dream is that this network of blogs be called City of Angels Network and incorporate our slogan that we run at the top of the blog:

The City of Angels is Everywhere.

Because The City of Angels IS everywhere.

And if there was ever a mission for Earth Angels, it’s uncovering and eradicating sex crimes in the Catholic church, especially against children.

So if you want to start a blog and feel your English is not good enough, I’ll help you construct sentences. If you want to just use your camera and capture stuff from around the web, you can do a blog and barely know English.

The City of Angels is Everywhere.

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