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Priest alleges Florida diocese retaliated after he cooperated with abuse investigation

January 13, 2017

A priest who actively assisted police as they investigated child pornography allegations against a fellow priest has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Palm Beach.

After a Sunday Mass in January 2015, Father Jose Palimattom, a Franciscan from India, showed a 14-year-old boy his cell phone and asked him to help him delete 40 pornographic images of teenage boys. The boy told his father, who called police.

Arrested and convicted on child pornography charges, Father Palimattom served six months in prison and was deported.

Father John Gallagher, also stationed at Holy Name of Jesus Church in West Palm Beach, actively assisted with the investigation. After he was subsequently not appointed pastor, he claimed the diocese was retaliating against him—prompting the diocese to issue a statement asserting that the priest was “blatantly lying and is in need of professional assistance as well as our prayers and mercy.”

“Father Gallagher has acted in a similar manner in other situations in the past and has been given every opportunity for correction,” the diocese added.

In response to that statement, Father Gallagher—now on medical leave—has filed a defamation suit.

 
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