Witness says priest told him W.Va. bishop once abused teen; diocese calls Pa. trial a ‘circus’
Bransfield, who once taught at Lansdale Catholic High School outside Philadelphia, became a bishop in 2004. He graduated from St. Charles Borromeo seminary in 1971, a year after Stanley Gana.
The witness Wednesday told jurors that Gana rotated teen victims at his Scranton-area farmhouse, and abused him throughout high school on trips to Disney World, Niagara Falls and Bransfield’s beach house in Brigantine, N.J.
The Associated Press does not generally identify people who say they have been sexually abused.
The man went to the Philadelphia archdiocese in his 30s to seek counseling, money and a meeting with Bevilacqua. He thought the cardinal should know what was going on.
He said he didn’t get his meeting for five years. And he came to believe “the cardinal himself was the ringleader of the whole damn thing.”
Bevilacqua retired in 2003, and died this year.
The witness told a harrowing tale of weekly abuse that started when his mother sent the eighth-grader to Gana for counseling in the late 1970s because he’d been raped by a family friend.
“I can’t explain the pain, because I’m still trying to figure it out today, but I have an emptiness where my soul should be,” he said.
By ninth grade, Gana was molesting him, while inviting his large family to spend the summer at his farm in bucolic Friendsville, the witness said. His father was an unemployed maintenance worker, and the family lived in the city’s gritty Kensington neighborhood.