Fr. Joseph M. Ganter – Diocese of Pittsburgh

Father Joseph M. Ganter

Diocese of Pittsburgh

Ordained: 1922

Retired (in good standing): 1964

Death: 1965

Assigned as Follows:

  • 1922-1923 – Saint’s Peter & Paul (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 1923-1932 – St. Martin Church (West End, Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 1932-1942 – St. Athanasius Church (West View, PA)
  • 1942-1964 – St. Boniface Church (Penn, PA)

Summary of Allegations Against Father Joseph M. Ganter:

According to the 2018 grand jury report, the Diocese of Pittsburgh received an allegation of sexual abuse against Father Joseph Ganter in 2008. The Diocese of Pittsburgh was contacted by an 80-year-old male who said he was abused when he was about ten years old in the 1930s at St. Anthanasius. He said he knew of five other adolescent boys that had inappropriate sexual relations with Ganter. The Diocese of Pittsburgh then reviewed Father Ganter’s file and discovered accusations of sexual abuse from 1944.  An adult parishioner reported to the Chancery that Ganter had engaged in sexual misconduct with three different teenage boys at St. Boniface. 

According to the man making the complaint, the first victim was around 14 years old when Ganter requested he perform a sex act in Ganter’s office. The boy panicked and cried, then Ganter gave him money and told him not to say anything about it to anyone. The second victim was 15 when the same thing happened to him. Like the first victim, this boy refused. Ganter then gave him a bingo ticket and some money and told him not to tell anyone. The third victim was a teenager when he and Ganter were seen engaged in sexual activity in the parish house by another boy.

According to the grand jury report, it was Ganter, not the Diocese of Pittsburgh, who requested that the allegations be investigated by a local Justice of the Peace.  When interviewed, according to the JP, the boys gave inconsistent statements or denied any sexual contact with Ganter, which is, of course, not uncommon for scared teenage boys.  The matter was closed and Ganter remained in ministry for another 20 years.

Ganter died in 1965, about a year after he retired as a priest in good standing. The Diocese of Pittsburgh now includes Ganter on its list of accused priests who were not accused until after their deaths, despite the overwhelming facts to the contrary.  

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.