Sex Abuse Allegations Surface against Former Nashville Priest
By John Dunn
February 27, 2014
There are new worries that a Catholic priest may have sexually abused children during his time in Nashville. The allegations against Father Kenneth Gansmann have just been exposed. St. Vincent De Paul is a small Catholic church in North Nashville, and during the 1960's it was led by Father Kenneth Gansmann. The Franciscan priest not only led the predominantly African-American parish, but he also oversaw St. Vincent's elementary school. Just last week church leaders in Minnesota revealed that credible claims of sexual abuse were made against Gansmann while he was in that state in the 1950's. FOX 17 News started asking questions, and we learned that allegations have also been made against Gansmann here in Nashville. "About three and a half decades after he died, we got an allegation that he may have abused a student at St. Vincent's during the late 1960's," says Rick Musacchio with the Diocese of Nashville. Mike Coode, who is a survivor of church sex abuse, says it is especially disturbing knowing that Gansmann spent so much time around hundreds of children. "It would not surprise me in the least, in fact it would surprise me if he didn't abuse kids here," says Mike Coode. Coode is one of several survivors urging the Nashville diocese to acknowlege what happened and seek out other possible victims. The Diocese of Nashville is now encouraging anyone to come forward, and offering support to anyone who may have been molested or abused. "The diocese wants any victims of past abuse to come forward no matter how long ago that might have happened," says Musacchio. Although the abuse may have occurred more than 45 years ago, it's possible some may have remained silent about the past. Father Kenneth Gansmann died in 1974. In addition to his time in Minnesota and Nashville, he also worked in several dioceses in Illinois.