Pa. (AP) — A sweeping grand jury report into child sexual abuse in Roman
Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania said church officials gave a former
priest a positive reference to work at Disney World, even though they'd
fielded at least one allegation about him sexually abusing a boy.
ex-priest, Edward Ganster, left the priesthood in 1990, moved to the
Orlando area and went on to work at Disney World before he died in 2014.
report said Ganster worked at the theme park for 18 years. Ganster drove
the train at the Magic Kingdom, according to an obituary in the Orlando
Sentinel, which said Ganster worked there for 15 years.
World did not respond to a request for information.
who became a priest in 1971, was working at St. Joseph's Church in
Easton in the late 1970s when a woman complained to a monsignor that
Ganster had gotten in bed with her 13-year-old son on an overnight trip
and "hurt" him, the report said. The boy also told his mother that
"something happened" in the confession booth, it said.
monsignor told her Ganster would be given counseling and Ganster was
promptly reassigned, the report said.
a decade later, Ganster was on sick leave at a Catholic mental health
hospital as he sought to leave the priesthood and get married.
wrote the Diocese to say he would apply for a job at Disney World and
wanted to use the Diocese as a reference, the report said.
bishop, Thomas Welsh, wrote to Orlando's bishop that Ganster's problems
were "partially sexual" and that he couldn't reassign him. A monsignor
separately assured Ganster that he would get a positive reference.
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 monsignor wrote, according to the report.
diocese spokesman, Matt Kerr, said he knows of no reference letter, or
if one was written.
should not have happened," Kerr said. "It would not happen today."
than a decade after Ganster left the priesthood, a man contacted the
Allentown Diocese to report that Ganster had victimized him when he was
14 and an altar boy some two decades earlier, the report said.
fondled, groped and beat him repeatedly, once dragging him across a
living room floor by his underwear and once beating him with a metal
cross, the report said.
later, in 2015, the mother of another victim contacted the Allentown
Diocese to report that Ganster abused her then 12-year-old son in 1977,
the report said.