Desmond Laurence Gannon – Repeat Sex Offender – Pedophile Catholic Priest still supported by Church (Naturally)

“At last I can finally speak out.
Not like the dark old days, people are listening now.”

A JUDGE who jailed an elderly former Victorian priest for sex offences against a boy 41 years ago has damned the repeat pedophile offender for his lack of true remorse.

Judge Frank Gucciardo yesterday told the man his absence of contrition “displays a turpitude of character that borders on the scandalous and is offensive to morality and the law”.

Judge Gucciardo said Desmond Gannon’s explanations for his conduct, when interviewed by police last year, betrayed self-delusion and a “lack of understanding of the impact of your behaviour” on his victim.

He told Gannon, 79, that his demeanour in the interview and in a taped conversation with the victim was disturbing but “consistent with your appearance in court, clearly nonchalant and dismissive”. Gannon, prosecuted for the fifth time for offences between 1958 and 1976, pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault on a boy aged 11.

From August to September 1968, when Gannon was a priest in Kilmore, he assaulted the boy in a car, on a bush track, in a church and at a pool. Now 51, the man said in a victim impact statement that after the abuses he had felt “broken, old, clumsy, dirty, ugly, guilty, confused, rejected, worthless and scared”.

Judge Gucciardo said it was his view that “the vindication of a victim’s plight in cases of this kind is central to the function of the criminal justice system”.

A psychiatrist reported that Gannon had a perverse psychosexual structure and had made “some progress” by expressing concern for the victim and the gravity of the offences.

But Judge Gucciardo said such progress was not the same as contrition and remorse “unaccompanied by empathy or compassion for the victims but delivered with indignation at your own fate”.

While Gannon posed little risk to the community, the jail sentence “is a recognition of the significance of the wrong inflicted”. Gannon was jailed for 25 months with a minimum term of 14 months.

In a statement to the court, the victim, who is now in his 50s, said he had gone from being a happy boy who wanted to be a policeman, to a delinquent who spent time in jail.

“Father Gannon has succeed in destroying all my hopes and dreams,” he said.

“At last I can finally speak out. Not like the dark old days, people are listening now.”

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

The court heard that despite these convictions, the Catholic church continued to support Gannon by helping to pay his rent.

Covenant Counseling sent a convicted sex offender and a murderer into homes of at-risk children

State officials are accusing a Harrisburg counseling center that received public funding of hiring convicted felons to work with at-risk children and families.

“It causes a great concern for the department that we would have had a provider who thought it was appropriate to have people with serious criminal convictions, even if they were in the past, to go into people’s homes and provide these types of very serious counseling services,” said Stacey Witalec of the Department of Public Welfare.

A February inspection by the DPW of Covenant Counseling on Walnut Street in Harrisburg revealed that a convicted murderer, a convicted sex offender, who is listed on Megan’s List, and a person convicted of aggravated assault, were working there, according to DPW. The department has also charged Covenant with gross incompetence, negligence or misconduct in operating the agency

The department said it will not renew the license of the youth aid agency. That license will expire at the end of June.

Covenant Counseling received federal funding to work with at-risk families and children. Currently, it works with about 20 families in the greater Harrisburg area.

DPW officials said the employment of felons is a violation of state law, and that the agency should have known who it was hiring.

“After we gave the provider time to correct the problem, take care of any staffing issues that they knew they had and clean up any other part of the operation that would be problematic for the department, it was our understanding they continued to hire people without getting criminal clearances,” said Witalec.

A spokesman for Covenant Counseling would not comment on the DPW’s allegations or decision not to renew its license. The spokesman said the agency would have something to say at some point and said Covenant Counseling will appeal the decision.

The agency has 30 days to file an appeal. Witalec said the department has not yet received the request for an appeal.

Published in: on May 29, 2009 at 11:10 pm  Leave a Comment