By Joanna Walters
Brian Gergely’s body lay at his funeral mass just feet from where, in the same church, his revered priest had shattered his innocence and trust by molesting him when he was 10 years old.
“The root of all his problems was what happened to him as a kid,” said John Luther, a friend and former schoolmate of Gergely’s at a Catholic elementary school in the small Pennsylvania town of Ebensburg.
Luther recalled that Gergely, an altar boy, would get pulled out of class and told to go to the church “to help the monsignor”.
That was Father Francis McCaa, who was called a monster by a state grand jury in March. Its report concluded that he was among at least 50 priests in the local Altoona-Johnstown diocese who had systematically raped and molested hundreds of boys and girls for 40 years, while bishops covered it up and the criminal justice system looked the other way. McCaa died in 2007, at 82.
Gergely killed himself earlier this month at 46.
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