Just "Outed" Predator Priest Worked in Nashville
February 27, 2014
Pedophile priest worked in Nashville
He was publicly exposed last week for first time
Sex abuse victims seek help from Tennessee bishop
Group blasts “bare minimum” approach by Catholic officials
A credibly accused predator priest who was exposed for the first time last week worked for years as a pastor in Tennessee. And a support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging Nashville’s Catholic bishop to “aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes.”
Because of a court order, St. Paul Minnesota church officials revealed that Fr. Kenneth Gansmann was removed from active ministry because of allegations that he molested a child. Fr. Gansmann, who is now deceased, also worked in three Illinois dioceses: Springfield, Joliet and Chicago.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are asking Bishop David R. Choby to use his vast resources to seek out any others who may have seen, suspect, or suffered abuse. Bishop Choby should visit every parish were Gansmann worked and beg victims or witnesses to come forward.
Gansmann worked in Nashville at St. Vincent De Paul from 1961 until his death in 1974.
“He had access to hundreds of children every year. It is never too late to report abuse,” said
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s director. “We hope those who are suffering in silence will find the courage to speak up. And we hope Nashville's bishop will gently but firmly prod them to do so.”
“It's hard for some to understand this, but many times, victims stay silent unless someone in authority – a prosecutor, a bishop, or even a parent – begs them to step forward and get help,” said Susan Vance of Knoxville, another SNAP leader. “Fr. Gansmann's victims are likely getting up in age. They were kids in an age when kids were often to be 'seen, not heard,' So it's likely they're still carrying this horrible burden alone. Catholic officials can and should gently but firmly prod them to break their silence and start healing.”
SNAP leaders are critical of bishops who suspend “proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting clerics” but stop there.
“It's not enough just tell a predator 'Hey, don't show up for work anymore.' That's just smart public relations and legal defense,” Clohessy said. “Bishops recruit, educate, ordain, train, hire, and transfer pedophile priests. They can't just oust them when their crimes become known. Bishops have a moral and civic duty to warn the public about them, seek out their victims and help law enforcement prosecute the molesters and other church staff who ignored or hid their crimes.”
A photo of Gansmann and his full work history are available at BishopAccountability.org