Joseph M. Ganter
Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh
From Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
In 2008, an 80-year-old male contacted the Diocese of Pittsburgh to report that Father Joseph M. Ganter had abused him in the 1930’s when he was approximately 10 years of age and an altar server at St. Anthanasius. He advised that he stopped serving mass after the abuse occurred. He further advised of five boys who had slept with Ganter as well as an unknown boy from West View who spent his vacation with Ganter. When a Bishop’s delegate reviewed Ganter’s personal file, an allegation from 1944 was discovered wherein an adult male had complained of immoral and corrupt relationships between Ganter and at least three teenage boys, ages 13 to 15.
The first teenage boy was 14-years-old when Ganter approached him in January, 1943 in his office. Ganter asked the boy to engage in a sex act. The boy became frightened, started to cry and then asked to go home. Ganter gave the boy $3.00 and instructed him to never tell anyone.
The second teenage boy was 15-years-old when Ganter asked him to commit a sex act in his office. This occurred on a Sunday evening in April, 1943. The boy refused. Ganter gave him $12.00 and one ticket for bingo, instructing him not to tell anyone. A witness informed the boy that he should do whatever Ganter requested because it was not sinful. The witness further advised the boy not to be afraid because Ganter told him that everybody does it.
The third teen entered the parish house on the evening of September 30, 1943 with another boy. The other boy then went to the school hall. When the other boy returned to the house with two others, they witnessed the teen and Ganter engaged in a sex act. This occurred in the office opposite the dining room.
In 1945, at the request of Ganter, a Justice of the Peace conducted an investigation into the accusations. The individuals were interviewed, having given different stories and denied any supposed immoral relations with Ganter.
Additional information regarding the widespread sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Dioceses of Pennsylvania and the systemic cover up by senior church officials is compiled in the Pennsylvania Diocese Victim’s Report published by the Pennsylvania Attorney General following a two-year grand jury investigation. A complete copy of the Report is available on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s website.