Ebensburg man, child abuse victims advocate, takes own life
- Jul 6, 2016
From the Link: http://www.tribdem.com/news/local_news/ebensburg-man-child-abuse-victims-advocate-takes-own-life/article_1304b550-d75a-5ea0-b3a1-d88902c61fe3.html
A onetime sexual abuse victim who has spoken out about clergy abuse in the diocese has died.
Brian Gergely, 46, was found dead July 1 inside his Ebensburg home of a self-inflicted injury, Cambria County Coroner Jeffrey Lees said Tuesday.
The Ebensburg man died of asphyxiation, he said.
Gergely was a 1988 graduate of Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, where he was a standout running back for the football team.
Over the years, he worked as a behavioral health specialist and therapeutic support staffer who spent years counseling youth.
In recent years, he went public about abuse he suffered in the 1980s at the hands of his church’s former priest, the Rev. Francis McCaa. Gergely said he hoped his willingness to speak out would encourage others to step forward and begin to overcome their own private struggles.
In its March 1 report of widespread child sexual abuse by clergy across the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, the state attorney general’s office called McCaa “a monster” who groped and “fondled the genitals of numerous children” who attended or served at Holy Name Church in Ebensburg.
The report estimated that McCaa’s victims numbered “in the hundreds.” McCaa died in 2007.
‘He was a monster’: how priest child abuse tore apart Pennsylvania towns
A grand jury report issued last week details abuse by dozens of Catholic leaders in the small communities of Altoona-Johnstown from the 1950s to the 1990s
Joanna Walters in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania
Tuesday 8 March 2016 07.30 EST
One of Brian Gergely’s fellow altar boys had a code he would use to signal danger in the room where they and the priest prepared for mass.
“He would say ‘red buttons’, and that was the alert that the priest was coming up behind you, and we would try to get away from him, running around the desk in the middle of the room where he kept the chalices, the host and the wine,” said Gergely, 46.
Gergely was 10 at the time.