Another witness in the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia priest sex-abuse case testified he told a defendant in charge of investigating sexual abuse by priests that he was abused by defrocked priest Stanley Gana.
M.B. is the second witness to testify that he was abused by Gana. M.B. also is the second witness to testify he reported the abuse by Gana to defendant Monsignor William J. Lynn when Lynn was the personnel director for priests’ assignments and the secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004.
M.B. is not the same M.B. who testified earlier in the trial that he was abused by Lynn’s co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan. The Legal is not naming the alleged victims.
Both M.B., who testified Wednesday, and R.K., who testified Monday, said that they contacted Lynn in the 1990s out of concern that Gana was in restricted ministry at a monastery at which there were youths serving as altar servers.
M.B. testified that Lynn told him Gana was not diagnosed as a pedophile but as having an alcohol problem.
The only time M.B. said he ever knew Gana to drink was after he’d confronted Gana about the sexual relationship Gana was having with R.K. at the same time Gana was having a sexual relationship with M.B., M.B. said.
M.B. said that he wanted the archdiocese to take out a full-page ad in The Philadelphia Inquirer stating that Gana was a “pedophile,” listing his history of parish assignments and giving contact information for any other victims, M.B. said.
But Lynn said that was not possible because “it would impose upon Gana’s rights,” M.B. said.
M.B. also said he sought a meeting with the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua because “I thought this was all being hidden from the cardinal, all his underlings were keeping it repressed only to find out the cardinal was the ringleader of the whole damn thing.”
M.B. also said that Gana told him his personal friend, the Rev. Michael Bransfield, was having sex with a teenage boy. Bransfield was working in another diocese at the time.
Bransfield, who grew up in Philadelphia, is the current bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia.
“The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is learning of media reports originating from legal proceedings under way in Philadelphia, and Bishop Michael Bransfield’s name was brought up in court today,” the diocese said in a statement. “Until such time that the facts and issues surrounding this testimony are made fully known to the diocese, we cannot comment at this time. However, this is certainly an opportunity for us — as a church — to remember all victims of sexual abuse and to pray for them and their families.”
Both M.B. and R.K. testified that Gana kept them socially isolated.
M.B. said Wednesday that he went to Gana’s rectory on Friday nights even after Gana was no longer assigned to his parish and that he also went to Gana’s second home in the mountains, and that he was abused by Gana at both locations for his entire time in high school.
Gana took M.B. to Disney World, Notre Dame University and Niagara Falls, M.B. said.
M.B. said he’d been abused by another man. When he told his mother about the abuse, his mother referred him to Gana, M.B. said.
When Gana started abusing him, M.B. said, he did not tell his parents or any other person until he entered nursing school after high school and got mental-health help.
M.B. said he was depressed and even suicidal after he ended his relationship with Gana. M.B. said at the time he thought he loved Gana but that he now knows that Gana’s relationship with him was not one of love, but one of abuse.
His treating mental-health professional suggested that M.B. stay friends with Gana but tell Gana he just would not have sex with him anymore, M.B. testified more than once Wednesday. M.B. said he did stay in touch with Gana, but Gana kept on pressuring him for sex.
When M.B. finally told his mother that Gana had abused him, he said that his mother, who was still friends with Gana, said he couldn’t expect her to stop being friends with Gana, he testified.
M.B. was frank that he’d asked the archdiocese for money because of the abuse he suffered and that he also told Gana he would go to the archdiocese about the abuse unless Gana gave him money.
As a result, M.B. said, Gana forgave a $15,000 loan and gave him another $10,000 in four installments over the course of a year.
The archdiocese has paid for his therapy, M.B. said, but has not otherwise given him money. M.B. said he could not sue because the statute of limitations had expired.
He also said he has been on disability for almost all of his life, but he has been sober from alcohol and other drugs since 1995.
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.