Monsignor: Abuse investigation fell through cracks

AP News
Posted: Apr 19, 2012 6:15 PM
Monsignor: Abuse investigation fell through cracks

A heinous 1992 priest-abuse complaint "fell through the cracks" at the Philadelphia archdiocese, leaving the accused pastor to continue leading a suburban parish for three more years, according to testimony Thursday in a clergy-abuse trial.

Monsignor William Lynn, the longtime secretary for clergy at the Roman Catholic archdiocese, is charged with child endangerment and conspiracy in his handling of sex-abuse complaints about priests.

Prosecutors read some of Lynn's 2002 grand jury testimony aloud to jurors to bolster claims that he and others kept predators in ministry to protect the church from scandal and costly lawsuits.

A seminarian in 1992 told Lynn and Lynn's boss, the late Monsignor James Malloy, that he had been raped throughout high school by Rev. Stanley Gana. The seminarian, who testified in person this week, gave Lynn and Malloy the names and parish of two other potential victims.

In his 2002 testimony, Lynn acknowledged the archdiocese never tried to contact the potential victims or to ask Gana's colleagues if they had seen anything untoward at the rectory. Lynn testified that therapists had advised the church not to contact potential victims to avoid re-victimizing them if they had "moved on."

Still, Lynn conceded that Gana should have been sent for a psychiatric evaluation.

"In reality, it fell through the cracks because I switched jobs at about that time," said Lynn, who succeeded Malloy that year as secretary for clergy.

The two church officials did question Gana, who denied the allegations. According to Lynn's testimony, Gana said he'd made a lot of enemies and his affection had been misconstrued, and he called one of the other potential victims "perverse" and "very disturbed."

Malloy told Gana to avoid contact with the seminarian because the allegations, if true, might be criminal. Lynn agreed with the assessment, according to his testimony. Asked why he didn't notify police, Lynn testified: "Because we weren't required to."

Gana remained pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows in Bridgeport until 1995, when a second accuser came forward. He was then sent to a church-run treatment center. He was deemed an alcoholic, not a pedophile _ even though the accusers said he rarely drank.

According to the 2005 grand jury report, Gana quit another church-run, inpatient therapy program in 1996 and moved to a house he owned in Orlando, Fla. A nun soon called the Philadelphia archdiocese to complain he was living with young boys from Slovokia, the report said.

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Gana agreed to go into a treatment program near Toronto, where a second psychologist said he was neither a pedophile nor a danger. He was assigned to a monastery until 2005, and defrocked in 2006.

Gana is now 69. It's not clear where he's living, and The Associated Press could not locate a current phone number for him.

Early in his career, in the early 1970s, Gana worked as a high school and Boy Scout chaplain.

The seminarian said he was assaulted by the 300-pound Gana several times a week in the early 1980s in northeast Philadelphia _ at the parish rectory, at Gana's farmhouse near Scranton and on trips. He and the second victim said Gana took turns sleeping with them and a third boy at the farmhouse on a regularly scheduled "rotation."