Fr. Charles R. Ginder – Diocese of Pittsburgh

Father Charles R. Ginder

Diocese of Pittsburgh

Ordained: 1940

Absent on sick leave: 1962-1963, 1964-1967, 1970-1984

Arrested/convicted: 1969, 1978

Removed: 1976

Died: 1984

Assigned as Follows:

  • 1940-1942 – St. Gregory, Zelienople, PA and St. Mathias, Evans City, PA
  • 1942-1946 – Society of St. Suplice (NFI)
  • 1946-1950 – Saint’s Simon & Jude, Blairsville, PA
  • 1950-1953 – St. George, Pittsburgh, PA (South Side)
  • 1953-1959 – St. Joseph, Pittsburgh, PA (North Side)
  • 1954-1962 – Censor Librorum
  • 1959-1961 – St. Mary, New Castle, PA
  • 1961-1962 – School Sisters of St. Francis, Bellevue, PA
  • 1962-1963 – Health-related leave of absence
  • 1963-1964 – Our Lady of Mercy Academy (NFI)
  • 1964 – St. Januarius, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 1964 – St. John the Baptist, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 1964-1967 – Sick Leave
  • 1967-1970 – St. John the Baptist, Baden, PA
  • 1970-1984 –  Absent on sick leave

Summary of Allegations Against Father Charles Richard Ginder:

According to media reports, in 1969, Father Charles R. Ginder was arrested and convicted of sexual misconduct after police found photos of teen boys engaged in sexual acts and Ginder’s own diaries document his sexual exploits with children.  He was given 10 years probation but remained in ministry.

However, even before 1969 there are “red flags” that suggest Ginder had an ongoing problem with sexual misconduct.  Specifically, he was on “sick leave” multiple times in the 1960s, which is a common designation for priests being sent for inpatient treatment and evaluation following allegations of abuse.  While we cannot be absolutely certain of the reasons for the sick leave without seeing Ginder’s personnel files, the facts certainly suggest that was the case for Ginder.

Disturbingly, the reason Ginder was ultimately removed from ministry had nothing to do with his well-document history of sexual abuse.  It was because he wrote a book criticizing the Vatican’s position on sexual morality.

In 1978, Ginder was arrested again and eventually convicted of sodomizing two teenage boys.  He was sentenced to four years in prison.  At the time, he was still a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, even though he was not in active ministry.

According to the grand jury report, the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been contacted by multiple men accusing Father Charles Richard Ginder of sexual abuse.

A Seattle man contacted the Diocese of Pittsburgh about his abuse by Ginder multiple times “over the years,” according to the grand jury.  In 1999, the Diocese of Pittsburgh told him to stop calling because the records on Ginder had been destroyed, despite the number of complaints he had made.  This, in itself, would be highly unusual as the Chancery is generally forbidden from destroying documents under church law.  

The man said that Ginder took him to New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, sexually abusing him on each trip.  This occurred from 1958-1961.  He also alleged that a second Pittsburgh priest, whose name he did not disclose, was also involved.  

A 50-year-old New Jersey man reported abuse in 2002. The abuse took place when the man was between the ages of 15 and 17. He says that he and another boy would drink alcohol and engage in sexual contact with Ginder at the home of Bishop John Wright, who allegedly knew about the abuse. The victim also stated that he lived with Father Ginder for a short time, and called him a “physically abusive monster.”

Another victim came forward in 2007. The 69-year-old male said that he was molested by Ginder in the 1940s when he was a child at St. Mary’s on the North Side. Ginder was assigned to a neighboring parish at the time, but in the mornings he would wait for the victim outside St. Mary’s and offer to give him a ride to school, which led to inappropriate sexual contact with the boy. 

In 2011, the Diocese of Pittsburgh received yet another allegation from a man abused by Ginder.  This time, the man said Ginder fondled his genitals in Ginder’s car.  This occurred in 1980 when the man was 15 or 16.  According to the allegation, Ginder was driving the boy home from an overnight retreat because another man, possibly another priest, tried to sexually assault the boy during the night.  The boy screamed and Ginder came into the room, stopping whatever was about to transpire.  While giving the terrified boy a ride home, Ginder pulled over and fondled the boy while they talked about what happened.  

Another man came forward in 2013 and said he was abused by Ginder in 1960s following the death of his brother. He described being touched inappropriately in Ginder’s car after he had befriended the priest.  The boy had fallen asleep in the front seat and awoke to Ginder touching his thigh and groin area. 

Ginder died in a car accident in 1984.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Pittsburgh now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.