As previously reported in The Inquisitr, a grand jury report about the Pennsylvania diocese covering up the sexual abuse suffered at the hands of 300 priests has shaken the world of the Catholic Church this week. But as CBS News reports, another disturbing chapter has come to light.
The grand jury report alleges that the Roman Catholic diocese gave a positive reference that may have helped an ex-priest who had a history of sexual misconduct get hired at Disney World. Edward Ganster left the priesthood in 1990 and moved to Orlando. When he requested the reference, he had already been accused of sexually abusing at least one young boy. But he was able to secure employment at the theme park until he died in 2014.
Even after Thomas Welsh, Allentown’s Archbishop, had revealed that Ganster’s issues in the church were partially because of sexual misconduct, and that he therefore could not reassign him, the monsignor still offered to make a positive reference to help the ex-priest seek employment.
“I am quite sure that the Diocese will be able to give you a positive reference in regard to the work you did during your years of service here as a priest,” the report says the monsignor wrote to Ganster.
Ganster became a priest in 1971. He was working at the St. Joseph’s Church in Easton when a woman complained in the late 1970’s to the monsignor that the priest had abused her son on an overnight trip. He also told his mother that something had happened with Ganster in a confession booth. The monsignor told the boy’s mother that the priest would receive counselling. Instead Ganster was promptly reassigned.
A decade later Ganster spent time on sick leave and was treated at a Catholic mental health hospital. During that period he decided to leave the priesthood and get married. It was then the request for the reference was sent to the diocese.
The Allentown diocese was contacted a decade after Ganster’s departure by a man who alleged that the priest had groped, fondled and beat him when he was 14. One of the beatings, he said, was carried out with a metal cross used as a weapon. In 2015, another mother said that her son was abused in 1977 by Ganster, when the boy was just 12-years old.
Matt Kerr, spokesman for the dioceses, maintains that there is no letter of reference that he was able to find nor any proof that one was ever written.
As of this writing, Disney has yet to comment on the revelation.