About Me

Me at 13
Me at 13

I am a native of Brooklyn, New York where I attended St. Saviour’s Elementary School through 7th grade. My family moved to the Pocono Mountains in Northeast Pennsylvania when I was 12 years old. When we moved to Pike County, my brothers and sisters were enrolled in Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School and St. Matthews Elementary School in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Notre Dame was the central parochial high school that drew students from parishes in Northeastern Pennsylvania and west-central New Jersey. In 1973, I met Father Robert Gibson who was then an assistant pastor at St Luke’s Catholic Church in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Fr. Gibson taught religion to my 8th-grade class. It was during my 8th-grade year that he started grooming me for the abuse that he subjected me to for approximately 9 months.

After graduating from Notre Dame High School in 1978, I attended the University of Scranton (Pennsylvania) where I received a BA in History in 1982. After graduation, I entered Aviation Officer Candidate School at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. I was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy in October 1982.

I served in the Navy for over 23 years, rising to the rank of Commander. During my naval career, I served in a variety of sea and shore commands/staff assignments in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, California, Rhode Island, Japan, as well as deployments to the North Atlantic, North Sea,  Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, and the Persian Gulf. I completed temporary duty assignments in Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Estonia and Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territories)  before retiring from active service in January 2006. I am a veteran of the Cold War, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I am a 1994 graduate of the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island and a 2000 graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.   I hold a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia (2000).

I no longer consider myself to be a Roman Catholic. I have requested formal removal from the Catholic Church, but, like all of my requests, to date, it has been met with silence.

If you are new to this blog and want a primer on why I am doing all of this, the following are links to the posts that are the core of my story:

  1. An Introduction
  2. What Do I Want?
  3. Crossing the Lines…
  4. More Information on Father Gibson’s Assignments
  5. Edward Gannon, SJ (one of the good guys)
  6. Shameful Legacy
  7. Florida, not the happiest place on earth…
  8. Bishop Timlin’s Precept and Decree on Father Robert Gibson
  9. Connecting the Dots
  10. Picture This
  11. An Open Letter to Bishop Joseph F. Martino, Diocese of Scranton
  12. Fear and Doubt
  13. First Descent into Hell
  14. What I Have Learned in a Year of Blogging
  15. Parting Company with SNAP

The original Scranton Times-Tribune Story that I pursued to get Gibson’s name in the public eye and reveal this man’s true nature can be found here.

The recent Pennsylvania Grand Jury report identified Robert J. Gibson as one of the predators within the Diocese of Scranton. Gibson is discussed on pages 841-842 of that report.   It has also been revealed that the Diocese gave him the moniker “Father Ned” during litigation of a case in the 1990s.  This was a device to help hide his identity and the truth of his activities from parishioners and law enforcement.

I can be reached at mbbaumannblog@gmail.com.

If you are a victim and you want to come forward, please call the  PA Clergy Abuse Hotline: 888-538-8541.  This hotline is run by the Attorney General in Pennsylvania 

 

22 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. You are not alone. I’ve got my own stories of cover-ups. There’s a level of deceit and downright evil in the Scranton Diocese. Timlin acted like the nice guy but looked the other way and Martino is an egomaniac. Absolute Power corrupts and boy did those men have power.

  2. Mike, thanks fo rthe note on my blog — am new at this sort of things so bear with me, please! Sorry to hear of your abuse — My heart sank when I saw CAPPODANO but you seemed to handle it ok! He was a few years ahead of me in the Navy!
    Jim

  3. Another possible patron saint for victims and survivors is St. John Chrysostom, 4th century Patriarch of Constantinople. The following quote long attributed to St. John by Eastern Catholics and Orthodox:

    ‘The road to hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path”.

    here’s our family’s story if you have any interest …

    http://thewoundedbird.blogspot.com/2009/03/remembering-eric-2nd-anniversary-of-his.html

    Eric’s dad …

  4. I have another recommendation for a NEW saint — I am just DYING to hear someone say that they were healed by Patrick McSorely! If you do not recall, Patrick was a vicitm in Boston who was prominent in 2002 — he died (accidentally?) of a drug overdose around 2003 or 2004. Wonder how the bishops would respond to the claim of sainthood on his behalf!

  5. Note to Eric’s dad and mom. May God bless you and grant you strength and comfort in your loss. May your love for your beloved son sustain you and may his love for you reach you from heaven. May he rest in peace.

    Mark

  6. Michael, your last post touched me deeply. I well remember Marie, such a beautiful young woman. We were close friends of the family. I remember her and her brother Chris from when they were small children. I don’t know if you know that Marie’s father passed away in March. He was 89 and lived a good long life. He is at rest now with his beloved Marion, Marie and Chris.

    Again, thank you for sharing and God bless you.

    Mark

  7. Michael, I could not find a place to comment at your post, so I am commenting here. I share your frustration. There is not enough networking in our movement. As a result people do constantly quit, for many of the reasons you name and I am constantly perplexed by it. We just need to keep plodding forward, do what is in front of us, and know that in the future a lot of these questions will be answered.

    I think the entire SNAP conference could be webcast or there could be regional meetings with video hookups. There are plenty of ways to use new technology and not have one expensive geographic meeting every year. We need to make use of new media, which was not around when SNAP created its structrure.

    I tried for a year to communicate through the SNAP message board, and it also was not put to the use it could have been. . .

    Don’t give up, and don’t stop your writing and analysis of the situation. The truth will win at all levels in the end.

    Please stay in touch, I am still at the same email… And we could talk by phone as well…

    Kay

  8. Michael,
    I just read your last posts. How you were treated is so horrific. I think people need to know about this. I was thinking that if possible, that you should plan a trip to PA and give an in-service at Notre Dame. I think it would be very educational for the teachers. I think people need to hear your story and what you went through. Some of the teachers there today went to school with you. I think it would be good if the teachers could share it with the students as they also need to know what a horrible thing sexual abuse and exploitation are. I suppose people are more aware today with all that has gone on but we must be vigilant.

    Peace be with you – Mark

    1. I would really be surprised if the Diocese would allow any parish or parochial school to invite any victim of clerical abuse in to talk to parishioners, teachers or students. That would not be in keeping with their practice of denying the past and keeping “the flock” blissfully ignorant of prior abuses in the schools and churches. People, once aware of the Diocese’s history of protecting pedophiles and isolating or intimidating victims, may be inclined to withhold tithing and donations.

      That said, if the administration of Notre Dame invited me, I would most certainly accept their invitation.

  9. Michael, I think that a lot of people saw Gibson for the phony that he was. They probably couldn’t imagine some of the stuff that he did but people will talk. I wonder if there were complaints about him. I wonder if a point came when he was no longer welcome as a teacher at Notre Dame. I don’t really know what Sister Electa’s take on him was. I didn’t know her that well. I wonder if someone complained to her about him taking you (& others) off campus and perhaps he was told to keep away from you when the 1974 school year started. A lot of people were critical of him and he was not as respected as he would have had you believe. I still remember when I was in 12th Grade, the guidance counselor, Sister Elizabeth, told me, “You know, you are better than some of the priests here.” I thought it somewhat odd at the time but it made me wonder if Gibson was snotty to her too.

    As I said, I think you would be welcomed at Notre Dame because you have an important story to tell. You are part of this family. You would put a human face on the abuse problem. It is so painful to read some of what you have written but it is important that the truth be told. You are truly a hero for coming forward.

    Peace always – Mark

  10. Mike:

    Your blog is one way of dealing with tough issues which lots of people don’t want to hear about. In dealing with the situation, the Catholic Church has borrowed a line from old Soviet Russia: “yes that used to be a problem, but we have changed all that now”. Programs like diocesan safe environment programs are a convient cover to ‘prove’ how much the church has changed. But dragging volunteer grandmothers through layers of bueracracy does not touch the heart of the issue. After all, how many volunteer grandmothers have been asccused of sex abuse of students in their charge? Most of all, church leaders are desperate to make sure no one will really find out how much and for how long and to what lengths the church has protected the clerical perpetrators. Even today, in their announcements to parishes about how to respond to cases, they say “call the diocesan office”. No where does it say: “call the cops” which is the only right answer. People keep thinking that this is a primarily sexual matter that only involves a few individuals. In fact it is about abuse of power that involves every member of the Catholic Church. Right now, the abuse of power is just as much a fact as ever. Those of us who can call ourselves survivors of the sex crimes are the result of that one sympthom of the abuse of power. But for myself, I would say that experiencing other forms of abuse of power from the church leadership has been even more devestating than the specific sexual molestation. As long as the Church continues to flaunt their abuse of power in so many ways, there is no possibility to think that any of this has been overcome and that true healing is in progress.

    Jack

  11. Mike, Thanks for checking out my site. Please link to me!
    I love your site. I am going to spend some time here tomorrow.
    Tim

  12. Hi Mike, I am dealing with this in my own former denomination(African American). Its shameful and degrading to humanity for those acting as God’s representives to commit these acts.

    As others said please keep writing and speaking out. I dont believe that God is looking the other way and his justice will win out.

    Im starting a new site soon and will link to your blog if that’s okay.

    blessings

  13. When you get your blog up and running let me know. I would be honored to put your link on my blog. Keep moving forward!

    Michael

  14. I know frm the case I am familiar with that it takes lots of guts to come out as yourself and speak publically of abuse that you were subjected to. I know from the same case that healing is possible from the effects of abuse, but the effects never totally go away. Thus my comments elsewhere on this blog about the bill that was passed and signed into law here in South Dakota recently. Such a law assumes wrongly that everyone “gets over it” with time.

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