Ex-Priest Accused of Child Sex Abuse Worked for Disney
In August of 2018, an investigation by a grand jury in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania found that local church officials helped a former priest obtain a new job at Disney World despite having at least one allegation of child sexual abuse.
Edward Ganster left the church in 1990 and moved to Orlando, Florida, where he went on to work at the theme park until his death in 2014. According to the grand jury report, Ganster worked there for 18 years. His obituary in a local paper states that Ganster spent 15 years operating the train at the Magic Kingdom.
Church Ignores Allegations Against Edward Ganster
Ganster became a priest in 1971 and worked at Easton’s St. Joseph’s Church in the late 1970s. Eventually, a woman told the monsignor that the then-priest climbed into bed with her son during an overnight trip. The boy was 13 at the time. She said the priest “hurt” her son. The child also admitted that “something happened” to him in the confession booth. In response to the mother’s complaint, the monsignor assured her that Gangster would get counseling. Shortly after, officials reassigned him to another church.
Ten years later, Ganster, who was on sick leave at a Catholic mental health hospital, chose to leave the priesthood behind to get married. He contacted the Diocese by letter to say he was planning on applying to a job at Disney World and wanted a reference.
The bishop in Allentown had previously written to Orlando’s bishop to tell him that because Gangster’s problems were “partially sexual,” he would not be able to reassign him to the church. However, a monsignor gave Ganster a glowing reference for the Disney World job.
Matt Kerr, a spokesman for the Diocese, said he was unaware of the reference and that there shouldn’t have even been one.
Grand Jury Finds More Accusations
Over a decade after Gangster quit the church, a man got in touch with the Allentown Diocese to report that he had been sexually abused at the age of 14 by the then-priest 20 years ago. He said Ganster fondled and groped him as a child. Additionally, the priest beat his victim with a metal cross and dragged him on the floor by his underwear, resulting in injury.
In 2015, another woman contacted the Diocese to report that Ganster had abused her son in 1977. The son was 12 at the time.
These facts came to light after a grand jury revealed that over 300 priests have engaged in or covered up child sex abuse in the church. Those priests kept their jobs for decades despite officials knowing they were predators. The court found more than 1,000 children that faced abuse and stressed that there are many victims that will never come forward. The grand jury report also stated that church leaders protected the priests in a vast cover-up that goes as far up as the Vatican.
Prosecuting Sex Offenders
Engaging in sexual activity with an underage individual is illegal and can result in serious criminal charges that involve prison time, hefty fines, and required registration to the sex offender registry.
Orlando Sex Crime Lawyers
Law enforcement takes sex crimes seriously, especially those involving minors. If you find yourself facing criminal charges for allegedly committing a sex crime, reach out to an Orlando sex crime lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm to discuss your options.
William Umansky has over 25 years of experience and is an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He uses his knowledge and experience to ensure that he pairs the attorney from his legal team best suited to manage your case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.