By Kaylee Lindenmuth
NORTHERN SCHUYLKILL - Released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office was a statewide investigative grand jury report "that spent two years uncovering abuse of children by priests, and a systematic cover up spanning decades by senior church leaders in Pennsylvania and the Vatican."
Among the over 300 names and acts from across the commonwealth listed, roughly 24 had ties to and/or committed acts in the northern Schuylkill area.
“Today, the most comprehensive report on child sexual abuse within the church ever produced in our country was released,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “Pennsylvanians can finally learn the extent of sexual abuse in these dioceses. For the first time, we can all begin to understand the systematic cover up by church leaders that followed. The abuse scarred every diocese. The cover up was sophisticated. The church protected the institution at all costs.”
The 884-page report named 37 from the Diocese of Allentown, which covers Schuylkill County, and 45 in the Diocese of Harrisburg, which covers Northumberland and Columbia Counties.
The Diocese of Allentown issued a statement on July 27 regarding the findings, saying "the Diocese of Allentown welcomes any action that will lead to an expeditious release of the Statewide Grand Jury Report in any form.”
In the introduction to the report, the grand jury writes: "We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this. We know some of you have heard some of it before. There have been other reports about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church. But never on this scale. For many of us, those earlier stories happened someplace else, someplace away. Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere. "
Reverend Francis T. Gillespie, Girardville
Reverend Francis T. Gillespie, born 1931, served twice at St. Joseph's Church in Girardville, first from May 1959 to May 1963, and secondly from November 1974 to September 1994.
According to the grand jury report, in September 2002, a former altar boy at St. Joseph's came forward to report an act which occurred when he was 10 years old, noting that, at that time, "Gillespie began grooming him for future abuse."
"Gillespie acted overly affectionately towards the victim and began hugging him in private. The victim wrote that he had been taught to 'respect and trust these religious figureheads,'" the report detailed.
Gillespie then had the victim stay after Mass, to help count collection money, which the parents allowed, citing the same trust, believing "Gillespie would be a good influence on the victim."
"During his time with Gillespie, Gillespie would ask the victim questions about lust and sex, and how much he weighed. The victim remembers Gillespie had a scale in his room and would weigh the victim. Gillespie would have the victim undress to his underwear and get on the scale. Even though he was a child at the time, the victim knew this behavior was strange and not right but thought Gillespie, a clergyman, could not have bad intentions," the report states. "Gillespie then had the victim take off his underwear to get an 'exact weight.'"
The report continues, "Gillespie then used a measuring tape to measure the victim around the waist and inseam. The victim remembers Gillespie putting his fingers and measuring tape against the victim’s groin. At that point the victim froze and did not know what to do. He felt he could not say anything since Gillespie was a priest. Later, the victim heard other altar boys talking about Gillespie and his scale and measuring tape. The victim reported that he stayed the night at Gillespie’s residence on several occasions. Gillespie would have the victim dress in costumes and then take pictures of the victim. The victim would then undress from the costume into his clothes," the victim adding they remembered the flash from the camera, and that Gillespie "would drink alcohol during the sleepovers."
"The victim recalled an occasion when Gillespie gave him cold medication and in addition had him drink alcohol. The victim described this night as a 'blackout' and 'confusing.' The victim recalls waking up naked in bed with Gillespie, Gillespie had his arm around the victim.
A second victim, the older brother of the first, wrote the Diocese in 2003 describing similar abuse when he was around 14 years of age.
"Gillespie began grooming him in the same fashion as his brother, befriending him and having him help count the collection money. The second victim wrote, 'My respect and admiration for this man was very great and I trusted him with my life; a mistake I would pay for the rest of my life.'
"The second victim reported that Gillespie would weigh and measure him in a room on the second floor of the rectory while he was naked. Gillespie also would have the second victim measure Gillespie while Gillespie was naked. The second victim said Gillespie would touch his genitals and buttocks during the weighing and measuring."
"The second victim described the last time he went to the parish rectory to be measured and weighed by Gillespie. Gillespie came up behind the second victim while he stood naked on the scale and placed the second victim in a wrestling hold called a full nelson," the report notes. "While in the full nelson, the second victim’s arms were pinned back and controlled by Gillespie. The second victim was smaller than Gillespie and could not fight him off," adding that, at which time, Gillespie sexually abused the victim.
"This sickened me to my stomach and never again would I return to St. Joseph’s Rectory," the victim wrote, according to the report.
"After reports of abuse in the Boston Diocese in 2002, the second victim told his wife that Gillespie had abused him. Prior to writing a letter to the Diocese in 2003, the second victim learned through his mother that Gillespie had abused his brother as well. The second victim wrote, 'It was his courage and bravery in coming forward that gave me the strength to write this letter,'" the report concludes regarding Gillespie.
Richard J. Guiliani, Principal, Cardinal Brennan
Richard J. Guiliani, born 1942, served in northern Schuylkill County in three different capacities between 1969 and 1974, serving as an assistant at St. Canicus in Mahanoy City from June to September 1969, then as Cardinal Brennan's principal in June 1974, where he doubled as a resident at St. Vincent de Paul in Girardville. He also served in the Lehigh Valley throughout the 1970s.
In October 2003, a victim came forward to report abuse which occurred between 1971 and 1975 at Notre Dame High School in Easton, in which Guiliani committed explicit sexual acts with a female victim.
In May, 2004, a second victim came forward, to report an incident which occurred at Cardinal Brennan in December 1976, when the victim was 16, and Guiliani served as principal.
"As the victim was doing her homework in the gymnasium of Cardinal Brennan, Guiliani approached and asked second victim to accompany him to Boscov’s Department Store in Pottsville to assist him in buying Christmas presents for his nieces and nephews. The second victim held Guiliani in a position of trust and went with him to shop," the report notes. "Guiliani asked the second victim to get something out of the back seat. When the second victim did so, Guiliani reached under the second victim’s dress," proceeding to fondle the teen.
"Guiliani abused his position of power and trust as a priest and principal to take advantage of the second victim’s sexual naiveté," writes the grand jury report.
In 1977, Guiliani was listed absent without leave from the Diocese of Allentown, and his last known address, in 2011, is in Florida.
Reverend Edward George Ganster, Frackville
Reverend Edward George Ganster, born 1943, died 2014, served as pastor of Frackville's St. Joseph's Parish in the early 1980s, serving from June 15, 1981 to May 4, 1982.
In 2002, a victim reported to the diocese that, at the age of 14 while serving as an altar boy at St. Joseph's, "he was fondled and groped" by Ganster.
"On one occasion, Ganster dragged the boy across a living room floor, pulling him by the underwear. Ganster also beat the victim repeatedly, once using a metal cross. The abuse at the hands of Ganster lasted for over one and a half years and all happened in St. Joseph’s Rectory," the report notes.
The victim reported the abuse again in 2004, though the diocese made no formal report to authorities until 2007, the report states.
In 2005, a second victim reported abuse which occurred in 1977 while Ganster was at St. Joseph's in Easton, as did a third in 2015.
Reverend Andrew Aloysius Ulincy, Frackville
Reverend Andrew Aloysius Ulincy, born 1936, served in northern Schuylkill at three times, first as pastor at St. Mary's in Mahanoy City from March 27, 1969 to October 30, 1979, secondly as pastor of St. Joseph'sin Frackville from May 4, 1982 to January 3, 1995, and finally as a member of the advisory board for Cardinal Brennan High School from December 21, 1992 to the same date in 1995.
In 1981, while serving in Bethlehem, Ulincy was reported to city police for sexually propositioning a 17-year old. When contacted by police, Ulincy admitted the complaint was true, though the grand jury notes no evidence existed that criminal charges were filed.
According to the grand jury, evidence of one other incident involving Ulincy was presented, which occurred in Frackville in the early 1990s, as the church rectory was being remodeled.
"Ulincy 'dropped his pants' in front of a 25-year-old male contractor. Ulincy appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and the contractor appeared to be specifically targeted by Ulincy for this indecent exposure," the grand jury wrote.
The incident was reported to law enforcement, though chargers were dropped after the contractor received $2,500 and Ulincy was transferred from St. Joseph's.
Ulincy remained in active ministry until September 2010.
Reverend Walter Emala, Mount Carmel
Reverend Walter Emala, born 1927, died 2008, served in a part-time role at Mount Carmel's St. Peter church from 1981 to 1985.
In May, 1979, the Diocese of Memphis, Tennessee wrote the Diocese of Harrisburg regarding accusations that Emala had "sexually [handled] some of the children where he was an associate, but this does not seem to have been proven definitely." The Diocese still permitted Emala to provide occasional weekend help, according to the grand jury report.
In December 1985, Chancellor William Keeler, of the Harrisburg Diocese, wrote in a memorandum that Emala had been "accused of being overly and overtly familiar with certain boys” by parents in St. Peter’s parish, who reported to the parish's priest. No abuse was reported, however.
"The parents stated Emala gave boys wine and the parents were concerned about over familiarity," wrote the grand jury.
Children and Youth Services were contacted regarding the incident, and "the parents complained to the Diocese that they were disturbed that their children were questioned regarding the incident," the report continued.
In December 2002, a woman called the diocese reporting that "she heard that a woman in Mount Carmel saw Emala kissing an altar boy on the lips in 1985." In January 2003, said woman contacted the diocese.
Father Thomas Kujovsky recalled Father Frederick Farace telling him that "he once walked into Emala’s room at the rectory and found a 'shoe-box full of photographs of adolescent males, all undressed from the waist up.'"
According to the report, In 2004, the Diocese of Harrisburg wrote to “Rev. Walter Emala.” telling him "the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution is suspended when an accused leaves Pennsylvania."
"The Diocese informed Emala, 'In order to avoid scandal and to avoid exposing you to continued accusation and possible criminal investigation, it is important that you not be present at any time within the territory of the Diocese of Harrisburg.'"
Reverend Anthony McGinley, Mount Carmel
Reverend Anthony McGinley, born 1920, died 2006, served with Mount Carmel's Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church from November 20 1953 to October 11 1957.
According to the grand jury report, the Diocesan file for McGinley contained a handwritten memorandum, dated November 1953, written by Father Robert Gribben, stationed at Lebanon Catholic High in Lebanon County. Prior to Mount Carmel, McGinley served at Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary in Lebanon.
Three high school boys reported that McGinley made “immoral advances” towards them, the grand jury noted.
Gribbin questioned the boys about the charges, asking if they "were so convinced of them, would they testify under oath to their truth," to which the boys noted two seniors also knew of the "immoral advances." Gribbin then “warned them to be absolutely silent and dismissed them.”
The memorandum stated, “I spent most of the day in shocked disbelief – I could not believe these charges. Yet the evidence seemed so grave, and the danger of scandal so imminent, that I felt bound in conscience to inform the pastor, who I felt to be the competent superior in the case.”
One boy reported that McGinley took him to Centralia for a funeral, gave him alcohol, and touched him inappropriately, according to the grand jury report, adding that the boy also went on a trip to McSherrystown and McGinley tried to touch him.
Bishop Leech suspended McGinley until he reported for an interview in the Bishop’s Office in November of 1953. According to a document, McGinley stated he was innocent however “there may have been imprudent association w/ boys and that conduct w/ them might be construed wrongly.”
On November 20, 1953, McGinley was transferred to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
According to the grand jury, from 1953 to 1982, "there were many reports that McGinley had sexual encounters with other males."
Others with ties to the area
Though no other acts were noted to have occurred in the area, a multitude of others named in the document had served with parishes in the area. They are:
Grand Jury's recommendations
"Until the day we got our summons, none of us even really knew what a grand jury does. We wound up having to interrupt our lives for a period of two full years. We were told to appear for court several times a month, which meant traveling considerable distances to hear long days of testimony. We did it because we understood it was our duty. In performing that duty, we have been exposed to, buried in, unspeakable crimes committed against countless children. Now we want something to show for it. Courtesy of the long years of coverup, we can’t charge most of the culprits. What we can do is tell our fellow citizens what happened, and try to get something done about it," wrote the grand jury.
In its report, the grand jury made four recommendations for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
“Wherever we find child sexual abuse – in a government office, in a university, or in places of worship - we’re going to investigate it and protect victims from further harm,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Today, after decades of enforced silence and institutional cover up, the voices of the victims of sex abuse in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania are finally being heard. The time for institutions to place their own interests above protecting our children is over.”
The Attorney General's office has set up a website regarding the report, https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/report/, which also includes a phone number for the clergy abuse hotline, which is 888-538-8541.
"We will pursue any information or leads concerning child sexual abuse within these Dioceses, wherever it comes from," reads the website, referring to Pennsylvania's dioceses.
NEWS FROM YOUR TOWN
-East Union Township
-North Union Township
-West Mahanoy Township
-Beyond Northern Schuylkill