Former Priest Testifies He Reported Abuse to Lynn

, The Legal Intelligencer


An ex-priest said Monday that he left the priesthood because one of his colleagues, who he claims abused him for four years, was not removed from ministry by church officials.

The revelations — including the witness' statement that he reported the abuse to Monsignor William J. Lynn — came during the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex-abuse case, where Lynn is a defendant.

The witness, R.K., testified that he took a leave of absence because "I could no longer get out there on Sunday and defend a church that didn't protect me." The Legal is not naming the alleged victims.

R.K. testified that he reported his abuse to the archdiocese when Lynn was secretary for clergy in the archdiocese between 1992 and 2004.

Lynn was responsible for the assignment of priests and responding to reports of sexual abuse or other improprieties allegedly committed by priests.

Lynn is on trial for allegedly endangering the welfare of two young men whom his co-defendants allegedly abused and being in a conspiracy with his co-defendants.

R.K. said he told church supervisors in the early 1990s that the Rev. Stanley Gana had abused him from 1980 to 1984. Yet Gana was not defrocked until 2006, according to the Associated Press.

R.K. said between 1997 and 2002 he was in touch with Lynn through letters, meetings or phone calls about the abuse he suffered at Gana's hands.

In 1997, Lynn and R.K. met, the witness said. Lynn said that Gana was not classified as a pedophile — a person who prefers children sexually over adults — or as a ephebophile — a person who prefers adolescents sexually over adults. Lynn also said, R.K. testified, that Gana also was sexually acting out with women and stealing money from parishes and that he was now under supervised ministry and no longer would be a risk.

His sister, who R.K. had told about the abuse, called him in the spring of 1999 saying that she had seen Gana celebrate Mass at a monastery and that there were altar servers with him in the sanctuary.

When R.K. reached out to Lynn about that, he said Lynn told him that the mother superior of the monastery scheduled the altar servers and that the servers were never left alone with Gana. But R.K. testified that he said Gana would have the opportunity to meet the parents of the altar servers at Mass and through the parents' permission get time alone with the altar servers.

"I remember saying, 'He's a very smart man. He knows how to get things done,'" R.K. testified.

In 2002, R.K. said he wrote to Lynn again because a controversy had erupted over the Archdiocese of Boston's policy of moving sexually abusive priests around.

Lynn wrote back to inform R.K. that the archdiocese's policies had changed and any priest who'd had sexual contacts with minors would no longer be allowed to be in ministry.

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