Irish priest praised in US police letter to the Vatican.Fr John Gallagher’s evidence led to abusive priest’s conviction

Irish priest praised in US police letter to the Vatican
Fr John Gallagher’s evidence led to abusive priest’s conviction
Fr John Gallagher (48), who is from Strabane, Co Tyrone, has been ministering in Florida since 2000.
Fr John Gallagher (48), who is from Strabane, Co Tyrone, has been ministering in Florida since 2000.

An Irish Catholic priest has been singled out for praise in a letter sent to the Vatican by US police officers who investigated a clerical child abuse case, while criticising the diocese in which the priest served.
Last week, Fr John Gallagher (48), from Strabane, Co Tyrone, who has been ministering in Florida since 2000, claimed he has been ostracised by church authorities there for reporting the conduct of another priest in January 2015.
He said he was subsequently demoted.
On April 30th, Fr Gallagher said he was told by Palm Beach diocesan authorities that he was being transferred to another parish. The transfer was not negotiable.
The accused Franciscan priest, Fr Jose Palimattom, was arrested and charged with possession of pornography and distributing it to a minor.
He pleaded guilty in court, served a sentence, and has been deported to his native India.
In an unsolicited letter about the case last May to her superior, detective Debi Phillips of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office praised the Irish priest.
“Having dealt with the Catholic Church in another criminal investigation I fully expected church administrators to be unco-operative and dismissive of the allegations,” she wrote. “Much to my surprise I was wrong.”
Fr Gallagher and his staff provided “timely evidence” that led to conviction of Fr Palimattom.
“I truly believe that if it wasn’t for the co-operation I received from [him], other children would have been victimised,” the detective wrote.
In a July 20th letter to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, also seen by The Irish Times, Ms Phillips’s superior, chief deputy Michael Gauger, said he “felt compelled to write” on behalf of Fr Gallagher.

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