For decades, good Catholic young men were forced to leave seminaries when they reported being propositioned by faculty members or fellow students for sex, or when they expressed disapproval of the seminary's homosexual subculture that allowed practicing homosexuals to be approved for orders and be ordained at the exclusion of heterosexual candidates.
In 2018, New York cardinal Timothy Dolan was complicit in a request from North American College (NAC) Rector, Fr. Peter Harman, that Anthony Gorgia not return to continue his studies on fabricated grounds following non-elective surgery after Gorgia witnessed misconduct committed by the vice rector, Fr. Adam Park. Park's physical interaction with students seemed alarming to Gorgia as well as to concerned NAC seminarians who reported that Park was grooming handsome, athletic and naïve seminarians.
When Cdl. Dolan refused to address why Gorgia, with a flawless record, believed the rector and vice rector did not want him to return to the NAC, Gorgia felt compelled to leave formation rather than be complicit with a cover-up of the vice rector's behavior. Over the past year-and-a-half, Gorgia appealed to the Congregation of the Clergy and a multitude of other Church officials, requesting that an investigation be undertaken. When Gorgia's appeals were ignored, it became apparent that the Vatican had no desire of investigating allegations of possible sexual predation at an institution located on property belonging to the Vatican City State.
After almost two years when it appeared that the allegations Gorgia and others brought forward were being covered up by Cdl. Timothy Dolan; NAC officials including Fr. Peter Harman of the diocese of Springfield in Illinois and Fr. Adam Park of the archdiocese of Washington; and the NAC Board of Governors who were informed of these allegations, Gorgia and trusted advisors reluctantly concluded that justice can only be achieved through legal action. It is for this reason that his attorney, Raymond W. Belair, recently filed a summons with notice.
The notice cites the nature of the legal action as recovering for, among other things, discrimination and harassment Gorgia suffered as a heterosexual "at the hands of both the homosexual defendant(s) and their cooperating defendant(s)." Well on its way to becoming a landmark case, Gorgia's case poses a serious threat to a number of bishops and Church officials who have unjustly reprised over the years against priests and seminarians who have spoken out against the sexual predation of minors, seminarians and vulnerable adults in the Church.
An overwhelming number of whistleblower priests and seminarians are coerced into leaving dioceses, the priesthood or formation. At the same time Anthony Gorgia was being reprised against for raising the alarm about the NAC, Matthew Bojanowski and Stephen Parisi reported retaliation as seminarians at Christ the King Seminary near Buffalo.
The seminary recently closed after the rector, Fr. Joseph C. Gatto, was forced to resign after being accused of homosexual predation. Bojanowski resigned after alleging being reprised against for reporting sexual harassment at the hands of Fr. Jeffrey Nowak, his confessor and spiritual director. Parisi, a former dean of seminarians, attributed his departure to an ongoing "cover-up of sex abuse" at the seminary.
It is often difficult for a whistleblower priest or seminarian to find another bishop who will incardinate him into his diocese. A priest of the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who alleged sexual harassment and retribution on the part of disgraced Abp. John Nienstedt left ministry after concluding he would never find justice within the Church.
His conclusion was echoed by the late Richard Sipe, an expert on sex and celibacy within the Catholic Church, who wrote, "Priests or seminarians who speak up about a sexually active superior are threatened with the loss of everything — employment, status, etc."
When the priest later approached Cdl. Timothy Dolan, who was his former NAC seminary rector, Dolan told him that it would be best if he did not become a priest in New York at that time. This rejection is not surprising in light of Dolan's history of covering up abuse and reprising against those who report it.
Gorgia's lawsuit can help expose the decades-long cycle of abuse in seminaries that have devastated priestly vocations. The lawsuit will also provide a legal template for priests who have been unjustly reprised against like Richmond's Fr. Mark White, Chicago's Fr. Paul Kalchik, Buffalo's Fr. Ryszard Biernat, Gaylord's Fr. Matt Cowan, San Antonio's Fr. Clay Hunt, Lafayette's Fr. Theodore Rothrock, and others.
What happened to Anthony Gorgia at NAC is not an isolated event. When Michael Rose published Goodbye! Good Men in 2002, he addressed "how seminary 'gay subculture' and its 'heterophobia' drive away healthy heterosexual men." Unfortunately, it appears that nothing much has changed — and perhaps has even gotten worse — over the past 20 years.
While Gorgia's case is supported by mounds of evidence and a plethora of credible witnesses, he will still need financial support as his attorney argues a case sitting at a table across from Dolan's $1,000-an-hour lawyers paid for by the hardworking Catholics of the New York archdiocese. Anyone wishing to support Gorgia's case is encouraged to contribute to his legal fund by clicking here.