Selected Case Studies
The Grand Jury reviewed hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse committed by priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. The Jurors examined "Secret Archives" files for 169 priests (121 Archdiocesan and 48 religious-order priests working in the Archdiocese) and 2 permanent deacons. These files were supplied by the Archdiocese in response to a subpoena asking for all records relating to allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests that had come to the attention of Church officials since 1967. In addition to these Secret Archives files, the Grand Jury also subpoenaed and reviewed the personnel files of many of these priests.
We have not, in this Report, attempted to summarize all of the evidence we received or to describe the allegations against all 171 clerics. We have chosen instead to focus and report in depth on a representative sampling of these priests. These are not necessarily the worst offenders with the most victims. They were chosen because the evidence from their files and the witnesses who testified about their cases provide the most complete picture of clergy sexual abuse of children in the Archdiocese, the impact on the victims and their families, and the Church leaders' strategies to conceal the priests' crimes.
The nature of sexual abuse of minors, including the reluctance of victims to come forward, is such that the official record typically represents only the tip of the iceberg. In this case, we also do not have the full story because of the Archdiocese's longstanding efforts to suppress the truth about its priests. There are many victims whose names were never recorded. Church records obscured crimes with euphemisms -- an attempted rape, for example, was recorded as "touches." The Archdiocese's success in keeping these crimes hidden for so many years has made a full investigation of them at this time nearly impossible. Still, the evidence summarized in this report makes clear the patterns of sexual abuse and the cover-up by Church officials that have haunted and outraged the members of this Grand Jury.
The following case studies of selected priests reflect our findings based on documents from the priests' Secret Archives and personnel files, and on the testimony of victims, witnesses, and Archdiocesan priests and managers. We found these cases to be representative of the priests whose files we reviewed. We also found that the Archdiocese's response to the allegations against these priests accurately illustrates how, unfortunately, such cases were routinely handled.
The names of the victims, their families, and parishioners who reported priests' offenses have been changed.Father Stanley Gana
Father Stanley Gana, ordained in 1970, sexually abused countless boys in a succession of Philadelphia Archdiocese parishes. He was known to kiss, fondle, anally sodomize, and impose oral sex on his victims. He took advantage of altar boys, their trusting families, and vulnerable teenagers with emotional problems. He brought groups of adolescent male parishioners on overnights and would rotate them through his. bed. He collected nude pornographic photos of his victims. He molested boys on a farm, in vacation houses, in the church rectory. Some minors he abused for years.
Archdiocese officials were aware of the priest's criminality. At least two victims came forward in the 1990s to describe specifics of their abuse and provided names of other victims. They begged the Archdiocese to take away Fr. Gana's cover as a priest in good standing, to stop facilitating his exploitation of minors. Instead, the Archdiocese managers tried to silence the victims and conceal the crimes.
When Cardinal Bevilacqua and his aides heard that one of Fr. Gana's' victims, "Tim," was telling fellow seminarians about his' sexual abuse and might sue the Archdiocese, the Cardinal initiated a top-level investigation -- against Tim. Based on unsubstantiated charges, he was expelled from seminary and forced to seek ordination outside the diocese. Meanwhile, Church officials limited their probe of Fr. Gana to a single interview with the priest himself. They never sought to contact named victims brought to their attention.
With no further inquiry, and the seminarian out of the way, Cardinal Bevilacqua permitted Fr. Gana to remain a pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows in Bridgeport for three more years -- until another victim, who refused to be silent, came forward. When the threat of scandal forced them to act, Archdiocese managers pursued "treatment" for the priest, but this seemed clearly designed to protect the church from liability rather than victims from his assaults. Church officials purported, on paper, to limit Fr. Gana's ministry while doing little in practice. instead of reporting his crimes to police, they advised the priest to keep a "low profile."
In 1998, the former seminarian who had been forced out of the Archdiocese spoke with Cardinal Bevilacqua's aide, Secretary for Clergy William J. Lynn. Msgr. Lynn asked the victim, who had been forced to have oral and anal sex beginning when he was 13 years old, to understand that the Archdiocese would have taken steps to remove Fr. Gana from the priesthood had he been diagnosed as a pedophile. But Fr. Gana was not only having sex with children and teenage minors, Msgr. Lynn explained, he had also slept with women, abused alcohol, and stolen money from parish churches. That is why he remained, with Cardinal Bevilacqua's blessing, a priest in active ministry. "You see, [Tim)," said Msgr. Lynn, "he's not a pure pedophile."
The Cardinal removed Fr. Gana from ministry in 2002, only after the national scandal arising from sexual abuses by Boston's clergy had made it more difficult for the Archdiocese to continue to protect Fr. Gana and other sexually abusive priests.Father Gana abuses a 13-year-old boy at Our Lady of Calvary.
In 1980, 13-year-old "Timmy" lived with his parents and four siblings in Northeast Philadelphia. His family was deeply religious and invested in activities at Our Lady of Calvary, their parish church. Both of Timmy's parents and his sister volunteered at the church. From an early age, Timmy knew that his mother's greatest hope was that one of her children would become a nun or a priest.
Timmy's family kept a strict home: meals were eaten together, television and telephone use were restricted, and Timmy and his brother and sisters were shielded from anything sexual. The boys did not even undress in front of each other. A quiet and well- behaved child, Timmy was chosen to read at his 8th-grade graduation Mass. Although pleased at his selection, he was insecure, A speech impediment made him fear public speaking. So when Fr. Stanley Gana, the new assistant pastor at Our Lady of Calvary, praised his reading in the sacristy, Timmy was grateful.
That summer, 40-year-old Fr. Gana began injecting himself into the Timmy's home life, visiting regularly, often bringing gifts, and staying as an honored guest at family meals. Father Gana began to ask young Timmy to do things with him or to help at the rectory. He also invited Timmy to visit his Poconos farm for the weekend. Timmy's parents welcomed the priest's interest in their son. Neither they nor Timmy knew that the Archdiocese had been warned about Fr. Gana's relationships with young boys during a previous assignment.
Flattered by the priest's friendship and his parents' resulting pride, city-raised Timmy found Fr. Gana's farm a new and exciting world. Timmy received more adult attention from Fr. Gana than he did in his own large family. At first, he was not overly worried about the priest's physical "roughhousing" despite the enormous disparity in their sizes: Fr. Gana, Timmy thought, weighed about 375 pounds, while he was a scrawny 13- year-old. For a sheltered boy from a strict family, there was no reason to suspect the priest's intentions.
After Timmy's first trip to the farm, Fr. Gana began calling often for his help with various projects. The priest also found Timmy a job as parish sacristan, a duty that involved locking the church after Saturday evening Mass and opening it on Sunday morning. Soon Fr. Gana was inviting Timmy to stay for pizza. Then he was asking Timmy's parents if the boy could spend the night, since Timmy had to open the church early on Sundays.
On Saturday night stay-overs, Fr. Gana and Timmy played a favorite card game of Timmy's family -- five hundred rummy -- on a coffee table in Fr. Gana's living room. One night, complaining that the table was too small, Fr. Gana moved the game to his bedroom. There, he ordered the boy to take his shirt off. The priest then took off his own shirt and Timmy's pants, assuring the boy that what he was doing to him was natural and would feel good. The priest told Timmy how beautiful his undeveloped body was. Then he fondled his penis until the boy ejaculated. Later that night, Fr. Gana had Timmy masturbate him. Timmy, who had never so much as undressed in front of family or friends, thought that Fr. Gana's behavior had to be proper because he was a priest.
After that night, Fr. Gana's sexual abuse of Timmy became unrelenting. Father Gana frequently invited the boy out -- for movies, dinner, even visits to the priest's sister's house. Then Fr. Gana called and asked Timmy's parents' permission to keep Timmy out late or overnight. That summer the priest forced the child to perform oral sex and, later, began anally raping him. The obese priest pushed Timmy over the bed so that his face was on the carpet. Sometimes Timmy cried and Fr. Gana stopped, briefly. But then, ignoring the boy's pain, he pushed ahead until he penetrated Timmy's anus. Timmy remembered going to the bathroom afterwards and passing blood and what must have been semen, although at the time he did not know what it was.
The first time Fr. Gana anally sodomized him, Timmy went home and curled up on the floor of the family basement, stunned and terrified by what had happened. Later that summer, Timmy's mother became convinced he was lactose intolerant because of the milky fluid that sometimes emerged when he sat on the toilet. Father Gana told Timmy that anal sodomy was a part of loving someone. He expected the boy to reciprocate.
The priest told Timmy that the sexual activity between them was their secret which could not be shared. There was little risk of that: the frightened boy knew his parents would never believe him even had he dared to tell them. In Timmy's household, priests were like teachers. They were never wrong; it was always the child who was wrong. The boy felt powerless.
In the fall of 1980, Timmy entered Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia. Father Gana saw him on average three times a week and sexually abused him each time. He also continued to shower the family with gifts. In the summer of 1981, despite the availability of better paying jobs, Timmy's parents insisted that he work at the church.
When Timmy sought to socialize with friends on weekends, his parents discouraged him, saying he should help Fr. Gana instead because "he's so good to you." Even when Timmy took a weeknight job to earn money for college, Fr. Gana called his parents and offered to drive him home. The priest picked up Timmy, took him to the rectory and sexually abused him before dropping him off.
In addition to co-opting the boy's parents and monopolizing his time, Fr. Gana sought to control and isolate Timmy in crueler ways. He played on the boy's insecurities, robbing him of the confidence necessary to connect with other people. Father Gana convinced Timmy that a girl named "Susie" had invited him to her prom only because she felt sorry for him. When Timmy was asked to join the National Honor Society, Fr. Gana told him he was not smart enough and would only embarrass his parents when the Society would likely expel him in a year.
Father Gana showed Timmy nude photos, which he kept in a safe in his bedroom, of other boys whom he had sexually abused. Father Gana singled out one boy, named "Barry," who, he said, "performed" better than Timmy. The priest even ruined the teenager's high school senior week at the shore, when he showed up and demanded that Timmy spend the day with him.
It was not until Timmy left for seminary that he was able to begin breaking away from Fr. Gana. In the fall of 1984, the l7-year-old enrolled in Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook to begin training for the priesthood. The school's rules limited Fr. Gana's access to the teenager, who was allowed out only on Saturdays. Father Gana persisted, arranging with the boy's parents to pick him up and bring him home on weekends, or showing up unannounced at the seminary.
But, away from the priest's overbearing presence, Timmy -- now Tim -- tried to cope with his internal turmoil and shame. He lay on his bed in his seminary room, feeling overwhelmed and trapped, not knowing how to save himself. He determined either to get help or to kill himself.
Eventually, Tim asked the dean of the college, Msgr. William J. Lynn, for a referral to a therapist. Monsignor Lynn commented: "Yes, fine, but that therapist is going to think we're all crazy over here because you're the third person I'm sending to him in a month's time."
Monsignor Lynn did not ask Tim his reasons for needing therapy, but he was not entirely ignorant of the student's relationship with Fr. Gana. Monsignor Lynn had noticed Fr. Gana's frequent visits to Tim's dorm room, and had instructed the seminarian to tell Fr. Gana that he needed to check in with the dean before going upstairs. It was an unusual request: priests generally had free access throughout the seminary.
Tim began therapy during his sophomore year. He found it helpful. He came to understand that he was not to blame for what had happened to him. This realization allowed him to begin opening up with others. He discussed Fr. Gana's abuse with two priests who were his mentors. Neither advised him to report these crimes to police or to the Archdiocese. Tim subsequently confided in a few friends.
One day during his second year at the seminary, Tim told Fr. Gana that he realized what the priest had done to him was wrong, and that he was getting counseling. Father Gana became enraged. He screamed at the teenager. He accused him of ingratitude. In a wild state, Fr. Gana dumped Tim's belongings from the rectory onto his family's lawn, then drove away.The Archdiocese responds to a report of abuse by investigating the victim.
Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and other top Archdiocese managers first learned of Fr. Gana's abuse of Tim in November 1991, when the victim was In his eighth and final year of seminary, Tim had not reported Fr. Gana's criminal acts because his spiritual director at the seminary, Fr. Thomas Mullin, had urged him to wait until after his ordination so that he would not jeopardize his chances of being made a priest.
The seminary rector, Msgr. Daniel A. Murray, however, learned of Tim's victimization and notified Archdiocese managers. He informed them, too, that Tim had told other seminarians about Fr. Gana's abuses, and that gossip about Fr. Gana was spreading among the parishes. Archdiocese managers acted quickly -but not against Fr. Gana.
In December 1991, the Archdiocese made Tim the target of a full-scale "investigation" into second¬ and third-hand rumors of homosexual contacts with another seminarian. The probe, Archdiocese managers said, would decide whether Tim would be allowed to continue at seminary and on to ordination.
Cardinal Bevilacqua himself initiated the inquiry, choosing to ignore the child- molestation charges against one of his priests. Archdiocese managers did not even speak to Fr. Gana for another six months. The investigation of Tim, meanwhile, was conducted by the third-highest official of the Archdiocese, Assistant Vicar for Administration James Molloy, and his new aide, Msgr. William Lynn -- the same Lynn who had served as Tim's seminary dean.
The true purpose of this investigation, the Grand Jury finds, was not to get at the truth about Tim, but to suppress the truth about Fr. Gana by controlling and silencing the seminarian. Archdiocese managers barred Tim from the seminary and his deacon ate assignment. Monsignor Murray, the rector, threatened his friends with dismissal if they associated with him. Those who came to his defense were themselves punished.
According to Archdiocese records, Msgr. Murray told Msgrs. Molloy and Lynn that Tim was "damaged goods," that he was "fragile and sensitive." Monsignor Murray warned Archdiocese managers that the seminarian "might sue the diocese for pedophilia."
During the investigation, Msgr. Molloy conveyed to Tim that the Cardinal's decision on the ordination of a sexual-abuse victim might depend on whether the victim "tried to address the matter responsibly through a therapeutic process" -- a process that (perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not) might have the effect of keeping the victim's disclosures confidential. In the meantime, Archdiocese managers hung over Tim's head the fate of his future as a priest. For eight months, in isolation, shame, and fear, he awaited the Cardinal's decision.
Tim's training for the priesthood had been, for both Tim and his family, a dream come true. His mother had cried with happiness and pride when he told her he would embark on the eight-year course of study to become a priest. Now, after seven and a half years, already an ordained deacon, with a record unmarred by any type of disciplinary problems, and in excellent academic standing, Tim found himself cast out of seminary and the subject of an Archdiocese investigation. His good reputation was ruined. Rumors of homosexuality had disgraced his family and shamed him to the core. In spite of all this, he continued to cling to his lifelong hope of becoming a priest.
On July 28, 1992, Cardinal Bevilacqua received the Archdiocese report summarizing the investigation of Tim. The report's conclusion: "no finding could be made except to state that evidence to substantiate the allegations was inconclusive." Despite this finding, and despite numerous previous assurances to Tim that he would be afforded due process, Cardinal Bevilacqua chose to "resolve the doubt in favor of the church." The Cardinal announced that Tim would not be permitted either to complete seminary or to be ordained in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Even though Msgr. Molloy's recommendation to the Cardinal envisioned that Tim might be an acceptable candidate for priesthood after undergoing therapy, Cardinal Bevilacqua ordered that laicization proceedings be initiated against the seminarian - stripping him of his clerical status -- unless he applied for excardination to go to another diocese.
Cardinal Bevilacqua ended Tim's dream of becoming a Philadelphia priest and ejected him from the Archdiocese. Tim later was ordained as a priest in Connecticut. He told the Grand Jury that a Trappist monk later summed up accurately what had happened to him, when he said: "As a child, that priest murdered your soul, and as a priest, the Church has broken your heart."Archdiocese officials pretend to investigate Father Gana.
Father Gana, meanwhile, remained a priest in good standing. In Apri11992, when Msgrs. Lynn and Molloy interviewed Tim as part of their investigation of the seminarian, he described in detail how Fr. Gana had sexually abused him for more than five years, beginning when he was 13 years old. Tim told them about going to Fr. Gana's house in the country, and of anal rape in the rectory. He told them how Fr. Gana's abuse had hurt him. He provided the names of two other boys, John and Barry, whom Fr. Gana had also molested.
Monsignor Lynn testified before the first grand jury, swearing on a Bible, that he suspected Tim might have made up the whole story about Fr. Gana to extricate himself from his troubles at the seminary. The Grand Jury, however, finds that Msgr. Lynn's claim that he distrusted Tim's reports was not credible. First, Tim had begun confiding in others about Fr. Gana's abuse as early as 1985, six years before the investigation of his alleged misconduct. Second, and most importantly, Msgr. Molloy told the Grand Jury that both he and Msgr. Lynn in 1992 had found Tim credible.
Third, Church officials also knew of other corroborating evidence, which did not originate with Tim. The Archdiocese had been hearing allegations about Fr. Gana's sexual misconduct since the early 1970s. A seminarian had described Fr. Gana to Msgrs. Lynn and Molloy as "like a sugar daddy, always supplying money and vacations and use of a beach house." A parish priest in Media had expressed concern to the Archdiocese about Fr. Gana' s inviting other seminarians to his rectory at Our Mother of Sorrows in Bridgeport, where he had become pastor in 1986.
Fourth, Msgr. Lynn's own behavior, while a dean at the seminary, not only added corroborating evidence of Fr. Gana's guilt, but also convinced the Grand Jury that Msg . Lynn himself had believed that Fr. Gana was guilty. In the mid-1980s, it was Msgr. Lynn who noticed Fr. Gana' s frequent visits to Tim's bedroom, disapproved of them, and tried to restrict them. Indeed, in December 1991, Msgr. Murray had informed Archdiocese managers that he was "convinced it is a fact that [Tim] was abused by Stanley Gana."
And yet, in stark contrast with the aggressive, top-level investigation of the troubled seminarian -in which several witnesses were interviewed over a number of months while Tim was barred from completing his seminary studies -- Archdiocese managers saw fit to limit their probe of Fr. Gana' s abuses to just one conversation: with Fr. Gana himself.
On May 26, 1992, Msgrs. Lynn (soon to be named Secretary for Clergy) and Molloy asked Fr. Gana about the allegations against him. Unlike the interviews with seminarians in the Tim probe, all of which had been neatly typed, signed, and witnessed, Msgr. Lynn's nearly illegible notes of the Fr. Gana interview were never typed or signed. Monsignor Lynn later insisted that Fr. Gana denied the accusations of sexual misconduct, but any objective reader of his notes would find the priest's evasions every bit as incriminating as an admission. The record gave further evidence, too, that Fr. Gana had abused not only Tim but also many other young boys.
According to Msgr. Lynn's scrawled notes, when Fr. Gana was asked about the allegations, he said there were "a lot of close calls. Could have went either way. Can't deny that." Father Gana claimed that Tim "[c]ould have misconstrued things of affection." He described Barry, whose name Tim had provided, as "Friendly. Sometimes get affectionate. Don't know why gave his name. Pure jealousy." Father Gana claimed that John (another name supplied by Tim) had been involved in a "sex ring. Very involved in perverse sexual activity. Incest." He stated that two years earlier, John had threatened him. Fr. Gana also admitted he had paid John a monetary settlement, which he described as "outright blackmail." At the conclusion of the interview, Msgr. Molloy warned Fr. Gana to stay away from Tim because "what he's describing is a criminal offense."
Monsignor Molloy noted at the time that "a major cause for concern right now is any current or future victims." He told the Grand Jury that it was a "prudent assumption" that Fr. Gana was abusing boys at Our Mother of Sorrows in Bridgeport, where he continued to minister for three years after Tim's allegations surfaced and were ignored. Monsignor Lynn acknowledged to the Grand Jury that Msgr. Molloy's concerns were valid.
In the face of all the evidence that had been conveyed to them, in light of Msgr. Murray's conclusion that Fr. Gana had in fact abused Tim, and in light of Msgr. Molloy's recollection that both he and Msgr. Lynn had found Tim credible, what the officials did next was disgraceful. They did nothing.
The surest route to the truth would have been to report the allegations to the police and let those trained to investigate criminal acts do their job. But Archdiocese managers did not do that. The list of things they did not do demonstrates that their intent was not to establish the truth of the accusations, help the victims, or prevent further abuses:
• They did not attempt to speak to Barry or John to confirm or deny Tim's assertions, or to offer therapy or other assistance.
• They did not try to talk to any seminarians regarding their visits with Fr . Gana, about which a parish priest had raised concerns.
• They did not question priests who had lived with Fr. Gana.
• They did not attempt to determine whether Fr. Gana had sexually abused boys in the 1970s while he served as a chaplain for both the Boy Scouts of America and Archbishop Wood High School.
• They did not warn Fr. Gana's current parishioners about the allegations.
• They did not begin to supervise Fr. Gana's behavior or limit in any way his freedoms, duties, or access to minors.
• They did not even send Fr. Gana for a psychological evaluation -a procedure that Msgr. Lynn claimed was standard whenever an allegation of sexual abuse arose against a priest.
This "investigation " of Fr. Gana ended with the single interview with the priest. In February 1993, after a disgraced Tim had left the state, Cardinal Bevilacqua reviewed his case and decided "no additional action is required at this time." Father Gana remained pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows, even as Archdiocese managers professed concern for potential victims. It took another three years and another threat of scandal, this one a threat less manageable than Tim's, to provoke even minimal action against Fr. Gana.Father Gana abuses John and many other boys.
When John showed up at Archdiocese headquarters on September 6, 1995, he was still struggling with the impact of Fr. Gana's prolonged abuse. John, then 32, wanted Cardinal Bevilacqua to know about the suffering he had endured nearly 20 years before. He met with Msgr. Lynn, the Secretary for Clergy, and the official responsible for investigating priests' sexual misconduct.
John told Msgr. Lynn that he was 14 years old when, in 1977, he had summoned the courage to tell his mother that a family friend had orally sodomized him for three years. John's mother sought a counselor to help John deal with his resulting depression. She turned to the assistant pastor at Ascension Church in Kensington.
Father Gana recommended that he meet regularly with the boy, in private, to help him recover from the effects of the sexual abuse. Their first meeting took place in a rectory office. Father Gana closed the door and asked John to describe the molestation he had experienced. Then, telling the boy that it would help him overcome his fear of men, Fr. Gana hugged him. After Fr. Gana accustomed John to hugging during a number of counseling sessions, the priest told him, "It's OK to kiss another man." He instructed John to kiss him on the cheek.
When Fr. Gana began to invite John to stay overnight at the rectory, the boy became extremely upset. His mother asked him why he was so nervous. He answered that he was afraid she would think that Fr. Gana was doing the same thing to him that his previous abuser had. His mother dismissed his fear, assuring her son that the priest would never harm him.
Father Gana took his time grooming John. The first few times he made the boy share his bed he did not molest him. After several months, Fr. Gana told the boy that it was okay to show affection to a man while lying in bed. Thereafter, the priest progressed from fondling and kissing to "humping up against" the boy, masturbating him and, eventually, anally raping him. Father Gana also required John to masturbate and sodomize the priest.
At the end of John's freshman year, in 1978, Fr. Gana asked the boy's mother whether John could spend the summer at Fr. Gana's farm in the Poconos. It would be good for him, the priest told her. It would help keep John out of trouble. In all, Fr. Gana invited five boys to the farm: John, his two brothers, Barry, and a teenager named "Dean." That summer, Fr. Gana rotated John, Barry, and Dean through his bed on consecutive nights. He boasted about being in his late thirties yet "bedding three young boys at the same time." He told them that "each friendship needs personal time."
When John returned from the summer at the farm, Fr. Gana arranged for him to transfer to North Catholic High School. Father Gana paid the tuition. The priest continued to sexually abuse John throughout the boy's high school years, including at weekly "therapy" sessions and summers on the farm. During those years, Fr. Gana abused numerous boys, as older victims left to be replaced by younger boys.
Barry confirmed in a statement given to a detective and read to the Grand Jury that Fr. Gana had made him engage in mutual masturbation with the priest from 1976, when Barry was 15 years old, until 1979. Father Gana, he said, also orally sodomized him. Father Gana confided in John that he was upset when Barry stopped coming to the farm. But Barry was replaced by another teen, "Sandy ," who came to live year-round at the farm during John's junior year. In 1980, when Fr. Gana was transferred to Our Lady of Calvary in Northeast Philadelphia, Fr. Gana started bringing Timmy to the Poconos. Timmy was 13. The priest began taking John and Timmy to bed at the same time.
Father Gana told John about other boys he had sexually abused during the 1970s. He boasted that someone had reported him to the Archdiocese as a possible child molester when he was an assistant pastor, but Fr. Gana had blocked the inquiry. According to John, Fr. Gana said that he had told Church officials that the pastor himself was having an affair with the rectory's housekeeper, showing them women's clothes in the pastor's quarters. Archdiocese managers had called off the investigation.
Father Gana successfully deflected allegations on at least one other occasion. In October 1980, he called Fr. Donald Walker of the Chancery office (then in charge of allegations of clergy sexual misconduct) to report that his brother and nephew-in-law had spread word that he was, among other things, a homosexual and a "deviate." Father Gana blamed these accusations on family disharmony and the alleged physical and emotional problems of his accusers. Archdiocesan managers instructed Fr. Gana to "keep a very low profile for the next few weeks in the area of his farm by not taking his days off spending any time there." They also advised him to hire a lawyer.
Over the years, Fr. Gana showed John pornography and nude photos of boys whom the priest had abused. One picture was of a boy named "Bob," from Fr. Gana's first assignment (from 1970 to 1974) in Feasterville. The boy was lying on a bearskin rug with his buttocks in the air. Father Gana made John pose for pornographic photos as well. Barry told the detective that Fr. Gana also took a nude photograph of him.
Father Gana took several boys at a time with him on trips. During John's freshman or sophomore year, the priest brought John, Barry , Dean and another boy to a conference at Notre Dame University. Father Gana rented one bedroom for all five to share. He had sex with one boy at a time while making the others wait outside. On a trip to Disney World during John's sophomore year, seven guests shared one room while Fr. Gana had the other to himself, rotating the boys into his bedroom for sex. The next year, Fr. Gana took John, Larry, and Timmy to Niagara Falls.
Much as he did with Timmy, Fr. Gana controlled and manipulated John psychologically. He bullied the boy into not socializing with friends or going to dances. When John attended a Christmas party, Fr. Gana made him check in every hour. Terrified of the priest, John did everything Fr. Gana wanted, including giving up his senior week at the shore.
To further isolate the teenager, Fr. Gana turned him against his parents. He encouraged John to disobey them, telling him: "You're a man now. You don't have to deal with this shit from them." At the same time Fr. Gana counseled John's parents: "He's really a messed up kid, and I need more time with him." The priest's tactics convinced John that his parents were the enemy, thus preventing him from confiding in them.
More than three years into his abuse of John, Fr. Gana began forcing the boy to perform oral sex, which was particularly foul for John because his first abuser had also forced it on him. Father Gana demanded and received fellatio at the rectory and at a beach house belonging to a friend of Fr. Gana's, Fr. Mike Bransfield.
Only as a 19-year-old was John finally able to break Fr. Gana's hold on him, and it was not until he was 32 that he reported Fr. Gana's abuse to the Archdiocese. It took him that long to come forward, he said, because he had spent most of the intervening years abusing alcohol and drugs to escape facing his feelings. John attended nursing school. He married. However, as he struggled to gain sobriety , the emotions that he tried to bury constantly overwhelmed him. He finally found a therapist who helped him quit drugs. The therapist suggested it might help to report the abuse, have his hurt acknowledged, and help prevent harm to others.John reports his abuse but is frustrated by Church officials' response.
When John met witJ1 Msgr. Lynn at Archdiocese headquarters on September 6, 1995, he told Msgr. Lynn he wanted Fr. Gana removed from the priesthood, a newspaper ad seeking other victims, and a letter of apology from the Cardinal, or at least a meeting with him. He gave Msgr. Lynn detailed information about his own abuse, and named people who could corroborate his story. He also identified other victims, including Tim, and offered to produce them.
John said that Msgr. Lynn told him not to contact the other victims. He said that if Archdiocesan managers determined that the abuse had occurred, they would help pay for John's therapy. Monsignor Lynn promised to do "whatever he could" to arrange a meeting with Cardinal Bevilacqua. The meeting never occurred.
By November 1997, more than two years after he had gone to Msgr. Lynn to report his allegations, John still had not received from the Archdiocese an acknowledgment of Fr. Gana's abuses, or an apology, or a meeting with the Cardinal. Monsignor Lynn had told John in July 1996 that Fr. Gana "continues to deny the allegations," even though Msgr. Lynn knew by then that the priest had admitted the abuse to therapists. Meanwhile, John's marriage had broken up and he had lost his nursing job. Frustrated and angry , he returned to Archdiocese headquarters on November 18, 1997, demanding again to meet with the Cardinal and asking for financial assistance. Monsignor Lynn agreed only to give John a referral to Catholic Social Services.
Cardinal Bevilacqua's Assistant Vicar for Administration, Msgr. Joseph Cistone, wrote in a subsequent memo that the Cardinal was not inclined to meet with John, lest it set "a precedent, i.e. for the Cardinal to meet with such individuals" The memo recorded the Cardinal cautioning that "there must be other means of letting [John ] know that His Eminence was informed, other than for His Eminence to meet with him personally." (Appendix D-l )
John's meeting with Sister Pat Kelly, the site supervisor for Catholic Social Services, did not have happy results. He had hoped she might assist him with job training and placement and, in the meantime, help him pay his bills. Instead, according to John, Kelly grilled him with questions, lectured him, and asked why he blamed the Archdiocese rather than himself. She expressed disbelief that he had been in therapy for two and a half years, sarcastically exclaiming, "Really that long?" She criticized John for his focus on material compensation, assuring him it would not make him happy. She asked John whether he had received sexual satisfaction from Fr. Gana's abuse. (Appendix D-2)
Yet, because John threatened to make his allegations public if it failed to respond, doing nothing was no longer an option for the Archdiocese. On September 6, 1995, the same day that John first appeared at headquarters, Msgr. Lynn and his assistant, Msgr. Michael McCulken, met with Fr. Gana.
As he had done when he was questioned in 1992 about abusing Tim, Fr. Gana "denied" John's allegations but incriminated himself in doing so. Father Gana admitted making a substantial financial settlement with John. He admitted sleeping in the same bed with John when he was a young boy, while denying that he touched him sexually. He not only admitted to the Disney World trip but conceded that other guests would corroborate the "sleeping" rotation of boys in his bed. He discounted the likelihood that Tim and John were colluding against him.
Father Gana assured Msgr. Lynn that if anyone went to court or the media with allegations against him, he would resign his priesthood. But Msgr. Lynn, as he wrote later, did not know "what action [John] might take if it appears to him that the Church is not doing anything about his allegations."Father Gana is evaluated and treated, but he and Archdiocese officials manipulate the process to obtain the diagnosis they desire.
John's September 1995 complaint against Fr. Galla triggered what had come to be the Archdiocese's routine procedure for dealing with priests accused of sexual abuse of minors. Monsignor Lynn scheduled an evaluation for Fr. Gana at the Anodos Center of St. John Vianney Hospital, in Downingtown, a church-affiliated facility with which the Archdiocese and its law firm, Stradley Ronon, had a longstanding relationship. Father Gana obtained a two-month delay to hire a canonical lawyer , during which he continued as pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows.
Monsignor Lynn provided the Anodos Center with background information on Fr. Gana and a summary of Tim's and John's allegations. Monsignor Lynn asked center officials to determine whether Fr. Gana had, in fact, engaged in sexual activity with teenage males, and whether he should be engaged in priestly ministry that involved adolescents. The treatment center, however, was ill suited for this task: it could not check evidence or question witnesses or victims.
Monsignor Lynn noted under "Living Situation" on the center's form: "Father is stationed alone. He mentioned he does have students from Slovakia living with him." Monsignor Lynn did not think it important to investigate the situation of these foreign students living at the rectory with Fr. Gana.
Monsignor Lynn also wrote that other named victims would be questioned -- implying that if there were anything to their claims, Msgr. Lynn would provide the information to the evaluation center. Hearing nothing back, center staff might assume that there were no other victims, or that other allegations had been explored and found not credible. In fact, the Archdiocese did not question other named victims.
Even with the incomplete and inaccurate information that Msgr. Lynn provided, the Anodos Center concluded that returning Fr. Gana to ministry presented a risk. Its report found that Fr. Gana "demonstrates significantly impaired professional conduct such that he is at risk for further inappropriate and dangerous behavior." It recommended treatment at a residential facility.
Cardinal Bevilacqua received a copy of the hospital's summary statement. He also received a memo from Joseph Cistone, the assistant to the Vicar for Administration, Edward P. Cullen, which reflected the priorities governing Archdiocese deliberations. "Bishop Cullen and I both feel," the memo warned, "that this has the potential of becoming a PR concern." At the Cardinal's urging, Fr. Gana resigned as pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows, effective December 15, 1995.
Yet Fr. Gana's career as a priest did not end. Pursuant to Archdiocesan procedure, he was permitted to select his own residential treatment program. And so long as he could emerge from such a facility without being diagnosed a "pedophile" or "ephebophile," he could hope to return to active ministry.
Father Gana chose to begin treatment, on February 4, 1996, at another church- affiliated facility, Southdown, near Toronto, Canada. Before Fr. Gana checked in, Msgr. Lynn spelled out for him exactly what diagnosis he had to avoid in order to remain an active priest. At least twice, Msgr. Lynn warned Fr. Gana that a diagnosis of pedophilia or ephebophilia would mean the end of his career. This was also a finding that the Archdiocese would want to avoid if it sought to keep a priest in ministry while avoiding liability for the criminal abuse of church members.
On February 23, 1996, two weeks after Fr. Gana arrived at Southdown, Msgr. Lynn received a call from the Executive Director and psychologist Sister Donna Markham. She stated that Fr. Gana had been "very open and honest with her."
During this call, Sister Markham described Fr. Gana as "heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol and very involved in substance abuse, and that causes sexual acting out." Monsignor Lynn's notes offer no evidence that he questioned this explanation of pedophiliac acts, much less the report that Fr. Gana was a substance abuser. Yet in all the years he had dealt with Fr. Gana, Msgr. Lynn admitted he had never heard of any substance abuse problems. John, whose father was an alcoholic, stated that Fr. Gana had not consumed alcohol before or during sex. In fact, while Fr. Gana was abusing Tim, he sought a papal dispensation not to drink wine during Mass. The doctor's note accompanying Fr. Gana's 1983 petition explicitly stated that the request was made because of a medical condition and not any problem with alcohol abuse. Less than three weeks into Fr. Gana's scheduled four-to-six-month treatment program, Sister Markham reassured Msgr. Lynn that Fr. Gana "would not be diagnosed a pedophile or an ephebophile, but rather a person who acted under the influence of drugs and alcohol."
Father Gana, however, apparently felt less confident about his prospects. On March 4, 1996, Fr. Gana abruptly cut short his treatment. He took a taxi to the airport and within a week was in Florida.
New concerns about the priest quickly surfaced. On March 13, 1996, Sister Lucy Vazquez of the Diocese of Orlando called Msgr. McCulken in Philadelphia. She told him that parishioners from her diocese had reported that a number of young males from Slovakia were living with Fr. Gana in a house he owned in Orlando. The parishioners, said Vazquez, expressed "concerns about what might be happening at tJ1e house," with these males, some of whom looked to be in their teens. (Appendix D-3)
Rather than contact Sister Vazquez, Msgr. Lynn called Fr. Gana. According to Msgr. Lynn's notes of the March 19,1996, telephone call, Fr. Gana talked about his confusion and disillusionment, his fears, his love of the priesthood, and his self-healing. There is no indication that Msgr. Lynn told Fr. Gana to remove the young males from his house or to return to Southdown or Pennsylvania. Monsignor Lynn never investigated the situation in Orlando. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Archdiocese continued to pay Fr. Gana his regular monthly stipend.
It was four months before Msgr. Lynn contacted Fr. Gana again. On July 19, 1996, he sent a letter urging the priest to contact him and to return to Southdown. This was two weeks after Msgr. Lynn had told John, falsely, that Fr. Gana was in treatment, neglecting to mention that Fr. Gana had fled the treatment center and was now living in Florida. Father Gana responded by letter on August 18 -- from Slovakia.
Over the next several months the two priests exchanged a series of letters and telephone calls in which Fr. Gana sought, and Msgr. Lynn gave, assurances that the priest would likely be allowed to return to active ministry. Monsignor Lynn gave him such assurances in the absence of an official diagnosis by the treatment center and despite the fact that, since Fr. Gana had taken unauthorized leave from his treatment, he had lived with teenage youths in his Orlando house. Father Gana finally returned to Southdown on February 10, 1997.
For the next four months Fr. Gana was treated at the Church-affiliated facility by a psychologist, Samuel Mikail. As Msgr. Lynn predicted, Mikail concluded that Fr. Gana was neither a pedophile nor an ephebophile, and that his risk of future sexual misconduct was minimal. This conclusion was based on an understanding that Fr. Gana had only three victims who were minors -the three mentioned in the summary of the accusations provided by Msgr. Lynn to the treatment facility.
Monsignor Lynn in tact knew about other minors. John had told Msgr. Lynn that he knew of four other boys and one adult having sex with Fr. Gana during John's junior year alone. Monsignor Lynn knew about a Slovak student who had complained about Fr. Gana sometime after 1992. Monsignor Lynn also knew about the reports of suspected involvement with seminarians. Monsignor Lynn did nothing to correct Mikail's mistaken belief that, in 1997, Fr. Gana had been chaste for 10 years, nor did he contradict Mikail ' s impression that Fr. Gana had spent the past year "soul-searching," when in fact the priest had spent the year in Orlando in a house full of teenagers. Monsignor Lynn let Mikail's report pass, knowing it would have a significant impact on Fr. Gana's return to ministry and the access this afforded to new victims.
Monsignor Lynn's April 17, 1997, memo to Cardinal Bevilacqua about the Fr. Gana case warned that John and Tim might go public with their allegations. It suggested that having Fr. Gana active as a priest in Philadelphia might exacerbate the situation. It recommended that, if Fr. Gana sought ministry outside Philadelphia, the Archdiocese should not stand in his way.
On June 23, 1997, Cardinal Bevilacqua received Mikail's final report, which declared Fr. Gana "not a pedophile" but confirmed his sexual abuse of at least three diocese children. The accompanying memo recommended that "ecause of the possibility of the matter becoming public, [Fr. Gana's] service should be limited" to serving as a chaplain for a religious community.
The Cardinal authorized Fr. Gana's return to ministry.
[b]The Archdiocese nominally restricts Father Gana' s ministry but allows him to continue to act as a priest -- except where it might provoke scandal.
In August 1997 Cardinal Bevilacqua approved Fr. Gana' s becoming chaplain for a Carmelite Monastery, in order, as an Archdiocese memo put it, to minimize the possibility of unwanted publicity." Father Gana was sent to live at Immaculate Conception Rectory, along with other priests who were recovering from alcoholism and other problems. He became Chaplain of the Monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns on September 16, 1997.
Three weeks later, on October 6, Msgr. Lynn and Fr. William Dombrow, the pastor of Immaculate Conception, met with Fr. Gana to discuss the limitations on his ministry. In memos for official Archdiocese records, Msgr. Lynn reported instructing Fr. Gana that he had "permission to exercise his ministry only at Immaculate Conception Parish and as Chaplain to Carmelite Monastery." Any other assignments required Msgr. Lynn's permission. To Fr. Gana, Msgr. Lynn emphasized the need to act "low key" in the diocese.
Although he was now ostensibly responsible for the priest, Fr. Dombrow said he was never told that Fr. Gana had sexually abused minors. Fr. Dombrow admitted to the Grand Jury that he did not feel qualified to supervise a sexual offender, and would have refused to take Fr. Gana in had he known his condition. He was certain he would not have been so lax in his supervision.
Not knowing the danger that Fr. Gana posed to children, Fr. Dombrow asked Msgr. Lynn whether Fr. Gana could fill in when parishes called in need of a priest to celebrate Mass. Monsignor Lynn said that he could, while advising him to avoid Fr. Gana's old parishes in Northeast Philadelphia.
Yet, by November 3, 1997, less than a month later, Fr. Gana was seen celebrating Mass, assisted by altar boys, at Ascension Parish in Kensington where he had first met John and Barry. Learning of this from his sister, Tim wrote that day to Cardinal Bevilacqua expressing concern that Fr. Gana was still in active ministry and warning that he presented a danger to the boys of the Archdiocese.
The Cardinal handed the letter to Msgr. Lynn with instructions to respond over Msgr. Lynn's, not the Cardinal's, signature. Monsignor Lynn invited Tim to come talk the next time he was in town from Connecticut, where Tim had gone to become a priest after his excardination from Philadelphia.Monsignor Lynn belatedly apologizes to a victim, but tries to justify the Archdiocese's treatment of Father Gana.
At their April 1998 meeting, Msgr. Lynn apologized for the manner in which he and Msgr. Molloy had handled Tim's case in 1992. According to 'rim, the Secretary for Clergy finally acknowledged that the Archdiocesan managers believed that Fr. Gana abused Tim. Monsignor Lynn noted that others had accused the priest of committing sexual abuse after Church officials had heard, and ignored, Tim's reports about Fr. Gana. One accuser, Msgr. Lynn said, was a Slovak student whom Fr. Galla sponsored to study in the United States. According to Msgr. Lynn, Fr. Gana had revoked the student's funding upon discovering that the boy had a girlfriend, which made Fr. Galla jealous. Monsignor Lynn also spoke of another of Fr. Gana's victims who would "never be right" as a result of his abuse. "He can't function. He has threatened to take his own life."
Monsignor Lynn called Fr. Gana's repeated celebration of Mass at Ascension parish a "mistake" -- but not because of how traumatic the priest's presence could be to his victims. Rather, Msgr. Lynn said: "We tell him to keep a low profile because there are people out to get him."
Monsignor Lynn reassured Tim that Fr. Gana's ministry was limited, and that he was being monitored. But Tim remained unconvinced, noting that Fr. Gana's new ministry at the Carmelite Monastery took only about 35 minutes a day, that he had a car, and that no one was watching him.
Tim testified that Msgr. Lynn related to him the cockeyed logic of the Archdiocese, according to which Fr. Gana had not been diagnosed as a "pedophile" (attracted to prepubescent children) or "ephebophile" (attracted to post-pubescent minors) because he was alcoholic and also had sexual encounters with women and adult males. Had Fr. Gana been diagnosed a pedophile, Msgr. Lynn explained to Tim (who had been compelled to have oral and anal sex beginning when he was 13 years old), the Archdiocese would have taken steps to remove him from the priesthood.
By December 1998, Fr. Gana was asking Msgr. Lynn's permission to hear confessions at parish penance services. Monsignor Lynn refused, noting that it was impossible to supervise confession. As Msgr. Lynn phrased it in a memo, this was a problem because "any of [Fr. Gana's] victims from the past, seeing him hear confession, could claim the church is being negligent."
Father Gana continued, however, to minister in inappropriate situations. Tim's sister reported seeing him, surrounded by altar boys, celebrating Easter Mass at the Carmelite Monastery. Later, Fr. Dombrow reported that Fr. Gana, who often spent time at his mountain house, was overly involved with a young man he met in one of Fr. Dombrow's twelve-step meetings. Monsignor Lynn questioned Fr. Gana on December 5, 2000, and reported that Fr. Gana "mentioned one other person, but by the end of the conversation, he had mentioned two more."Father Gana is removed from ministry only after the sex-abuse scandal among Boston clergy brings national attention to the issue.
On February 13, 2002, Msgr. Lynn wrote to Fr. Gana, notifying him that the Archdiocese was "unable to provide and sustain an adequate level of supervision" of many sexually abusive priests it kept in limited ministry .Father Gana, along with some others, was relieved of his assignment.
Father Gana was removed from the priesthood one month after the sex-abuse scandal among Boston clergy had surfaced -- and more than 25 years after he had begun preying on children in his parishes. Tim told the Grand Jury he was disappointed that the pain of victims had not been enough to prompt earlier action by the Philadelphia Archdiocese.
On October 11, 2004, faced with the possibility of involuntary laicization, Fr. Gana agreed to live "a supervised life of prayer and penance." Father Gana appeared before the Grand Jury and was given an opportunity to answer questions concerning the allegations against him. He chose not to do so.