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Diocese Calls Allegations by Priest in Irish Newspaper “Completely Inaccurate”

This story popped up yesterday in the The Independent newspaper in Ireland, and quickly garnered attention on social media:

Fr John A Gallagher (48) is living in a friend’s home after locks at his parochial house were changed and he was placed on medical leave by his bishop in the Diocese of Palm Beach.

He claims he was told by a church official to put a paedophile priest on a plane rather than cooperate with police. A local police chief, so concerned at the Irish cleric’s treatment, wrote to church leaders to complain about how the whistle-blower is being treated.

Fr Gallagher broke his year-long silence over the affair to tell the Irish Independent that the priest from India at the centre of the abuse scandal is a danger to children. He has written to bishops and cardinals about the case – as well as Vatican officials – and has, so far, been unable to get a satisfactory response.

Late yesterday, the Diocese of Palm Beach responded:

In response to an article recently published in a newspaper in Ireland, the Diocese of Palm Beach is issuing the following statement:

“The recent article written by Greg Harkin for the Irish Independent Newspaper in Ireland regarding the allegations of Father John Gallagher against the Diocese of Palm Beach is a completely inaccurate representation of the facts. The diocese stands by our January 6, 2015, Press Release (included below) regarding the criminal charges against Father Jose Palimattom, OFM. In this widely-distributed statement and made available in print and on our website the Diocese of Palm Beach stated our immediate response, contact and cooperation with authorities regarding the investigation. Additionally, the diocese released a letter on January 8, 2015, to the parishioners of Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church (included below). We once again release those items.”

As for the other allegations which the article reports were made by Father John Gallagher, the Diocese of Palm Beach deems them to be a completely inaccurate reflection of the facts.  Father Gallagher’s reassignment was not related to the incident with the visiting priest.

In part, these inaccuracies include:

  • Father Gallagher was not demoted but given a new assignment with residence.
  • The locks were not changed at Father Gallagher’s former parochial house, leaving him homeless.
  • Father Gallagher requested a medical leave freely on his own and has been negligent in informing the Diocese of his current residence.

Read more at the link, including letters the diocese circulated a year ago about the accused priest.

Photo: The Independent

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