Fr. Edward G. Ganster (Diocese of Allentown)

Father Edward G. Ganster

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Ordained: 1971

Absent on Sick Leave:  1982, 1987-1988

Laicized (removed from priesthood): 1990

Died: 2014

Assigned as follows:

  • Notre Dame (Bethlehem, PA)                           1971-1975
  • Bethlehem Catholic High School                       1971-1972
  • C.Y.O. Regional Director (Bethlehem)               1973-1978
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Bethlehem, PA)    1975-1976
  • St. Joseph (Easton, PA)                                     1976-1978
  • St. Ignatius Loyola (Sinking Spring, PA)              1978-1981
  • St. Joseph (Frackville, PA)                                   1981-1982
  • Absent on Sick Leave                                          1982
  • St. Ambrose (Schuylkill Haven, PA)                     1982-1983
  • Penn State Univ. Campus Ministry                       1982-1983
  • Ss. Peter and Paul (Tower City, PA)                    1983-1986
  • Cardinal Brennan High School                             1984-1986
  • Holy Ghost (Bethlehem, PA)                                1986-1988
  • Sick Leave                                                           1987-1988

Summary of Allegations against Father Edward Ganster:

Ganster was in active ministry despite an unusual sick leave in the early 1980s, which, in our experience, is a red flag that he was the subject of sexual misconduct allegations and sent to some type of inpatient treatment or evaluation to clear him for a return to ministry.  Indeed, in 1987, according to the 2018 grand jury report, Ganster was sent to inpatient treatment at Downington, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests in Pennsylvania.  While the grand jury did not elaborate on the reasons for the treatment in its report, in our firm’s experience that priests are sent to treatment for only one reason: there are simply too many allegations of sexual misconduct to ignore and the church leaders need to look as if they are handling the situation.

Ganster has been the subject of multiple allegations of abuse over the years.  In 2002, a man reported to the Diocese of Allentown that he was sexually abused as a 14 year old boy at St. Joseph in Frackville, Pennsylvania, and the abuse often included physical abuse such as beatings.  The man made a second report to the Diocese of Allentown in 2004, and the Diocese provided him with counseling.  Yet, the allegation was never reported to law enforcement until years later.

In 2005, a mother reported that her son was sexually abused by Ganster as a 13 year old boy in 1978, when Ganster was assigned to St. Joseph in Easton. According to the grand jury report, he returned home from a beach trip with the priest and told his parents that something sexual happened.  She immediately reported it to Msgr. Connelly of the Diocese of Allentown (in 1978), and was assured it would be addressed.  Ganster was reassigned to a new parish the following week and continued in ministry for another decade.

In 2015, another mother reported to the Diocese of Allentown that her son was sexually abused during the summer of 1977 while Ganster was working at St. Joseph in Easton. No additional details about the allegation were provided in the grand jury report.

Ganster was removed from the priesthood (“laicized”) at his own request in 1990.  He did so because of a stated intention to marry a woman that he met in his inpatient treatment facility.  During the laicization process, Ganster told the Diocese of Allentown that he intended to relocate to Orlando, Florida, to find work at Walt Disney World.  The Diocese of Allentown provided him with a positive recommendation.  This is particularly disturbing because some time later, the Bishop of Orlando wrote to Bishop Thomas Welsh of the Diocese of Allentown to confirm Ganster’s status with the Church.  In his response, Bishop Welsh indicated of the couple, “I don’t know her problems.  His were at least partly sexual and led to my decision that I could not reassign him.”  There is no question that the Diocese of Allentown knew that Ganster was a threat to public safety, yet it assisted him in obtaining employment at the world’s most recognized theme park for families.

Ganster worked at Walt Disney World for 18 years.  He died in 2014.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown.  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 Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or today.