In response to recent media coverage of allegations made against the diocese, the Diocese of Palm Beach is issuing the following statement:
“The Diocese of Palm Beach is very disappointed in the actions of Father John Gallagher who, through a complete misrepresentation of the case of Father Jose Palimattom, has brought unfair and slanderous allegations against the Church and the Diocese of Palm Beach. Father Gallagher has acted in a similar manner in other situations in the past and has been given every opportunity for correction, including the possibility of professional assistance.
Father Gallagher has publicly stated that he contacted the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office the evening the incident occurred. The sheriff’s report indicates that Father Gallagher was not the one who made the report. He also publicly stated that he contacted the Diocese the evening the incident occurred. The Diocese of Palm Beach did not receive any communication from him until the next day. Upon learning of the allegation, the Diocese of Palm Beach immediately contacted authorities and learned that the incident had already been reported to them by the boy’s family, not Father Gallagher.
The Diocese of Palm Beach acted in a prompt, thorough, and cooperative manner in regard to Father Palimattom. Father Gallagher was not in any way demoted or removed because of the incident. He was not named as pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church for a number of reasons not related to the incident involving Father Palimattom. He was given a new assignment with all the reasons explained to him. Access to his residence was never denied him, nor was he refused the sacraments. At his request he was placed on medical leave and continues to receive salary, health insurance and benefits. At the present time he has not made known to the Diocese his whereabouts.
Father Gallagher is blatantly lying and is in need of professional assistance as well as our prayers and mercy.
The Diocese is very concerned regarding the manner in which the media is presenting this case, especially when the Diocese had released to it information that should have caused more than reasonable caution in presenting misleading information from Father Gallagher.”
The Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach encompasses the five counties of Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee. Comprised of 280,000 Catholics in 53 parishes and missions, the Diocese also serves the faithful community through its schools.