West Palm priest says Catholic church punishing him for blowing whistle


Father John Gallagher in 2008.
Father John Gallagher in 2008.

A West Palm Beach priest said he has been “frozen out” by the Catholic church for blowing the whistle on a priest who was arrested last year for showing pornographic photographs to a 14-year-old boy, according to a report.


Father John Gallagher told the Irish Independent that he was placed on medical leave by his bishop in the Diocese of Palm Beach after ignoring church orders to cover up the case and instead alerting the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office about Father Jose Palimattom .

In a statement issued at 4:30 Monday afternoon, the diocese denied Gallagher’s assertions. deeming them “completely inaccurate” and adding, “Father Gallagher’s reassignment was not related to the incident with the visiting priest.”

Palimattom was sentenced to six months in jail and one year of probation on a charge of showing obscene material to a minor, according to court records. The alleged victim told a friend who reported the incident to the church choirmaster who then told Gallagher.

PBSO Chief Deputy Michael Gauger wrote a letter to Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley in support of Father Gallagher.

Gallagher has been living with a friend after the locks on his parochial house in West Palm Beach were changed.

“This is now 2016 and this is what happens to whistleblowers in the Catholic Church,’’ Gallagher told the Irish Independent.

“Pope Francis speaks of ridding our church of the crimes of sexual abuse and being open and honest about doing it. I haven’t seen that in Pope Francis’s Church yet.”



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