Church helped former priest accused of abuse get Disney job: report

An ex-priest from Pennsylvania, who sexually abused children, worked at Disney World for nearly 15 years, despite facing at least one allegation of sexually abusing a boy, a grand jury report revealed this week.

The report said the priest had applied for the Disney job with a positive reference from his Pennsylvania diocese.

Edward Ganster moved to the Orlando area to work at the Magic Kingdom after leaving the priesthood in 1990. An obituary in the Orlando Sentinel said Ganster died at age 71 in 2014.

Disney World did not respond to a request for comment.

Ganster became a priest in 1971.

While Ganster was at St. Joseph’s Church in Easton, Pa., in the late 1970s, a woman accused him of getting in bed with her 13-year-old son during an overnight trip. The boy reportedly told his mother that "something happened" in the confession booth, the report said.

Ganster was then reassigned, the report said.

About a decade later, Ganster sought to leave the priesthood and get married. He wrote the diocese saying he planned to apply for a job at Disney World and wanted to use the diocese as a reference, the report said.

A monsignor assured Ganster that he would get a positive reference, despite Allentown’s bishop, Thomas Welsh, writing to Orlando's bishop that Ganster's problems were "partially sexual" and that he couldn't reassign him.

The monsignor reportedly told Ganster he was quite sure that the diocese would give him a positive reference in “regard to the work you did during your years of service here as a priest.”

In the early 2000s, a man contacted the Allentown Diocese, accusing Ganster of abusing him when he was an altar boy some two decades earlier, the report said.

Ganster fondled, groped and beat him repeatedly, once dragging him across a living room floor by his underwear and once beating him with a metal cross, the report said.

The mother of another victim contacted the Allentown Diocese in 2015 to report that Ganster abused her then-12-year-old son in 1977, the report said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.