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‘I’ve been frozen out by the Church for warning police about paedophile’


‘I’ve been frozen out by the Church for warning police about paedophile’

An Irish priest who called police in Florida after a colleague showed child porn images to a 14-year-old boy says he has been “frozen out” by the Catholic Church over his stance

By Greg Harkin | 26 January 2016
From the Irish Independent.
From the link: ‘I’ve been frozen out by the Church for warning police about paedophile’

Fr John Gallagher saying Mass (L).

Fr John Gallagher saying Mass (L).

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.

The astonishing case began in January last year when Fr Jose Palimattom – who had been at the parish of the Holy Name of Jesus Christ Catholic Church in West Palm Beach for just four weeks – approached a 14-year-old boy after Mass.

He showed the teenager up to 40 images of naked boys. Police believe he was in the first stages of grooming his victim.

Later that night, Palimattom sent the boy a message on Facebook which read: “Good night. Sweet dreams.”

However the teenager told a friend, who reported it to the church choirmaster, who immediately told Fr Gallagher.

The priest, from Strabane, Co Tyrone, says he was told that night by a church official in Florida: “We need to make him go away, put him on a plane.”

In documents filed to the Vatican by a specialist canon lawyer on behalf of Fr Gallagher, the priest claimed he was instructed “do not keep written notes” by the same church official.

The legal document was sent to Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. Fr Gallagher disregarded the instruction to put Palimattom on a plane to Bangalore and instead interviewed him. A retired police officer, who took notes at the meeting, told the Irish Independent that the Indian priest not only admitted showing nude pictures of boys to the local teenager, but also admitted he had sexually assaulted young boys in India before arriving in the US.

It was a confession he would repeat to detectives of the West Palm Beach Police, and Palimattom was later convicted on a felony charge of showing obscene material to a child.

Fr Gallagher said he immediately called the Sheriff’s Department of the West Palm Beach Police, following rules set down by the Church after hundreds of child sex abuse scandals. He says he began to feel “the wrath” of the Church.

“It was made clear to me that what I had done (co-operating with the police) wasn’t what I should have done,” he told the Irish Independent.

“It was a very distressing time for me and the parish. We had a special Mass and I told the congregation what had happened. I told them it was now in the hands of the rightful authorities, the police.” In late April, he says, he was called to a meeting by the Bishop of Palm Beach, Gerald Barbarito, where he thought he was going to be promoted.

Instead he was told to continue in his role for another year. However, the following day the decision was reversed.

“He told me I was being demoted,” said Fr Gallagher.

“No reason was given. He said if I didn’t wish to be demoted and moved to another parish, I should leave the priesthood.”

Less than four weeks later, Fr Gallagher was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack. Six days later he asked Sr Ann Monahan to retrieve files on the Palimattom scandal from his office at the Holy Name of Jesus Christ Church.

She managed to do this, but when she returned later, she was stopped by church officials and the keys to the building were taken off her.

“I was told to leave. When I protested, I was told ‘You’re fired’,” Sr Monahan (84) told the Irish Independent.

Fr Gallagher got out of hospital to find his parochial house locks had been changed. “I was in shock,” he said, “I was now homeless.”

A letter seen by the Irish Independent from the bishop to his priest suggested he needed “treatment” for his mental health and an all-expenses paid trip was offered to a clinic in Pennsylvania. Fr Gallagher refused to go and has been on paid leave since.

Detective Debi Phillips, in a memo to the Chief Deputy of Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, wrote: “Reverend Gallagher and his staff provided timely evidence that was needed to arrest and ultimately convict Jose Palimattom for the felony charge of Showing Obscene Material to a Child.”

Despite numerous emails and phone calls to the Palm Beach Diocese by the Irish Independent, there has been no response from the Church to the allegations.

Visiting priest in West Palm Beach accused of exposing minor to porn

 

Victims: Pope Benedict Protects Accused Pedophile Bishops


Victims: Pope Benedict Protects Accused Pedophile Bishops

By  BRIAN ROSS , RHONDA SCHWARTZ and ANNA SCHECTER April 15, 2008

From the link: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4656143

Pope John Paul II is seen giving his blessing to Father Marcial Maciel in 2004. Maciel has been accused of sexually abusing children, including his own, in a lawsuit. He died in 2008.

Pope John Paul II is seen giving his blessing to Father Marcial Maciel in 2004. Maciel has been accused of sexually abusing children, including his own, in a lawsuit. He died in 2008.

Even as he told reporters on his flight to America that he was “deeply ashamed” over the church sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict was accused by victims of protecting some 19 bishops accused of sexually abusing children.

“As a Catholic, I have to sadly conclude that he is not serious about ridding the church of corrupt bishops,” said Anne Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a group tracking public records involving the bishops.

According to the group, of the 19 bishops “credibly accused of abusing children,” none has lost his title, been publicly censured by the Vatican or referred for criminal prosecutions.

“The sexual corruption in the Catholic church starts at the very top,” said Doyle.

Pope Benedict told reporters on his flight this morning from Rome to Washington, D.C., he would do everything possible to avoid a repeat of the scandal. “We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry,” he said, according to Reuters.

While the church has moved to expel accused priests, critics say the higher-ranking bishops have been given favored treatment. “The attitude of the bishops towards the victims and the families of sexual abuse and predatory clergy is drop dead,” said Michael Wegs, of Marion, Iowa, one of nine former high schools students who said they were abused at a seminary in Missouri by former Palm Beach, Fla. Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell.

When the allegations were made public, Bishop O’Connell admitted at least two cases of abuse and was allowed to resign. He now lives on the beautiful, sprawling grounds of  the Trappists Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina.

“He deserves to be in jail,” said Wegs, his accuser. “I don’t think there is any justice because he is allowed to travel, go where he please. He’s still a bishop, and he’s living among priests in the hierarchical structure; he is a top dog despite the fact that he’s a sexual predator.” Wegs says O’Connell has failed to even apologize to his victims.

Bishop O’Connell did not return phone calls from ABCNews.com seeking comment, but church officials say he and other bishops have been punished appropriately. “You cannot put on clerical attire, and you cannot service in a public way in ministry,” said Austin, Texas Bishop Gregory Aymond, chair of the U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Protection of Children and Young People.

“That is a very, very significant consequence, and I would say a significant penalty,” said Bishop Aymond, who conceded the accused bishops maintain their title. “Priests and bishops remain priests and bishops forever, regardless of what happens to them or what they do,” said Bishop Aymond.

But victims groups and church critics say the pope can and should do much more to punish the bishops and finally resolve the scandal.

Before he became pope, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was in charge of monitoring cases of pedophile priests and was directly involved in deciding what punishment, if any, would be administered to priests and bishops.

“Priests who abuse children can be removed from the priesthood, but they do not remove bishops, they do not remove cardinals,” said author Jason Berry who has been tracking the sex abuse scandal and produced a documentary film on the subject, “Vows of Silence,” which premiered in New Orleans last night. “The problem is the power structure. There is no accountability,” said Berry.

Berry says the pope’s decision to have the Los Angeles archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, accompany him on his trip proves the point. “Why would you want someone in your entourage” like Roger Mahoney, asked Berry.

“This man has overseen a great many cases in which priests were moved from parish to parish. His diocese has paid over $660 million in settlements. And yet this cardinal has refused to release the files on these priests who have abused children,” Berry said.

Cardinal Mahoney did not return calls from ABC News seeking comment.

 

 

Sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston


Sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston

The sexual abuse scandal in Boston archdiocese was part of a series of Catholic sex abuse cases in the United States and Ireland. In early 2002, Boston Globe coverage of a series of criminal prosecutions of five Roman Catholic priests thrust the issue of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests into the national limelight.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] The coverage of these cases encouraged other victims to come forward with their allegations of abuse resulting in more lawsuits and criminal cases.[11]

As it became clear that there was truth to many of the allegations and that there was a pattern of sexual abuse and cover-up in a number of large dioceses across the USA, what had originally appeared to be a few isolated cases of abuse exploded into a nationwide scandal. The resulting scandal created a crisis for the Catholic Church in the United States, encouraging victims in other nations to come forward with their allegations of abuse, thus creating a global crisis for the Church.

Ultimately, it became clear that, over several decades in the 20th century, priests and lay members of religious orders in the Catholic Church had sexually abused minors on a scale such that the accusations reached into the thousands. Although the majority of cases were reported to have occurred in the United States, victims have come forward in other nations such as Ireland, Canada and Australia. A major aggravating factor was the actions of Catholic bishops to keep these crimes secret and to reassign the accused to other parishes in positions where they had continued unsupervised contact with youth, thus allowing the abusers to continue their crime.

History

Boston Globe coverage

In 2002, criminal charges were brought against five Roman Catholic priests in the Boston area of the United States (John Geoghan, John Hanlon, Paul Shanley, Robert V. Gale and Jesuit priest James Talbot) which ultimately resulted in the conviction and sentencing of each to prison.[12] The ongoing coverage of these cases by The Boston Globe thrust the issue of “sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests” into the national limelight.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][13] The coverage of these cases encouraged other victims to come forward with their allegations of abuse resulting in more lawsuits and criminal cases.[11]

In 2003, the series of articles in the Boston Globe received a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The Globe was honored, according to the Pulitzer website, “for its courageous, comprehensive coverage … an effort that pierced secrecy, stirred local, national and international reaction and produced changes in the Roman Catholic Church.”

Alleged cover-ups

Grassroots public advocacy groups like Voice of the Faithful focused on Cardinal Law after documents revealed his extensive role in covering up incidents of sexual misconduct of his priests. For example, Cardinal Law moved Paul Shanley and John Geoghan from parish to parish within the diocese despite repeated allegations of molestation of children under the priests’ care. Later, it was discovered that Father Shanley even advocated the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Under questioning, the cardinal stated that, when a priest committed a sex crime, the cardinal said his practice was to seek the analysis of psychiatrists, clinicians and therapists in residential treatment centers before deciding whether a priest accused of sexually abusing a child should be returned to the pulpit.

In 1984, John Brendan McCormack became Secretary for Ministerial Personnel in the Archdiocese of Boston. In this position, McCormack was Cardinal Law‘s point person on hearing complaints against priests accused of sexual misconduct and removing some of them from active duty.[14] He was later accused of taking too little action in handling John Geoghan, a Boston priest who allegedly molested over 130 children during his ministry.[14]

In 1990, after receiving complaints from an alleged victim, he removed one priest from duty and sent him to treatment, only for the same priest to later serve as a hospital chaplain.[15] He also wrote conciliatory letters to another priest accused of pedophilia and who once defended the North American Man/Boy Love Association,[16] then failing to notify the diocese to which that priest was later transferred of the accusations made against him.[15]

Cardinal Law’s response

Cardinal Law’s term as Archbishop of Boston began in popularity but quickly declined into turbulence towards the end of his term. Allegations and reports of sexual misconduct by priests of the Archdiocese of Boston became widespread causing Roman Catholics in other dioceses of the United States to investigate similar situations there. Cardinal Law’s actions and inactions prompted public scrutiny of all members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the steps they had taken in response to past and current allegations of sexual misconduct at the hands of priests. The events in the Archdiocese of Boston exploded into a national Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal.

Law’s public statements and depositions during the abuse crisis claimed that the Cardinal and Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston did not initially have the expertise to understand pedophilia and ephebophilia and relied upon doctors’ recommendations.[17] In January 2002, Law stated, “I promulgated a policy to deal with sexual abuse of minors by clergy. This went into effect on Jan. 15, 1993,” and also noted that the, “policy has been effective.”[18] His depositions echoed those sentiments.[17]

Impact on the diocese

Settlements in the Boston, Massachusetts suits were estimated to be up to $100 million. In some cases insurance companies have balked at meeting the cost of large settlements, claiming the actions were deliberate and not covered by insurance. This was additional financial damage to the Archdiocese, which already faced the need to consolidate and close parishes due to changing attendance and giving patterns. In June 2004, much of the land around the Archdiocese of Boston headquarters was sold to Boston College, in part to raise money for legal costs associated with scandal in Boston.[19][20]

Resignation of Cardinal Law

Law submitted his resignation to the Vatican and Pope John Paul II accepted his resignation on December 13, 2002.

In a statement and apology Cardinal Law said, “To all those who have suffered from my shortcomings and mistakes I both apologize and from them beg forgiveness”. He remained cardinal, which is a separate appointment, and participated in the 2005 papal conclave.

Handling by Bishop Lennon

Bishop Richard Lennon‘s appointment as apostolic administrator of the Boston archdiocese, following the resignation of Cardinal Law, brought criticism from some sex-abuse victims’ groups. This criticism increased after Bishop Lennon‘s appearance in the Frontline Documentary “Hand of God.” The movie documents the history of a Salem, Massachusetts sex scandal and its effects on the film maker’s own family. Lennon closes the Salem parish despite the fact it is not losing money for the Church. Then, when the movie’s filmmaker attempts to film the administrative building where his brother reported his own sexual abuse, Lennon exits the building, shoves the camera, declares he won’t “feel bad about this” after being told why the filmmaker wants to film the building’s exterior, attempts to avoid any discussion of the sex scandal by refusing to talk about anything other than the Church’s private property rights, and responds to the film maker’s claim that he doesn’t care by calling the filmmaker a “sad little man.”

Archbishop O’Malley

Bishop Sean O’Malley was appointed Archbishop of Boston on July 1, 2003, having already dealt with sexual abuse scandals in the dioceses of Palm Beach and Fall River.

In September 2003, the Archdiocese settled most of the abuse-related claims for $85 million.[21]

In June 2004, the archbishop’s residence and the chancery in Brighton and surrounding lands were sold to Boston College, in part to defray costs associated with abuse cases.[22][23][24] The offices of the Archdiocese were moved to Braintree, Massachusetts; Saint John’s Seminary remains on that property.

On August 25, 2011, Cardinal Seán O’Malley released a list of 159 names of priests who had been accused of sexually abusing a minor.[25] The publication mentioned that 250 priests in the archdiocese had been accused but 69 names were omitted because they were either deceased, weren’t active ministers, had not been publicly accused, or were dismissed or left prior to canonical proceedings. An additional 22 names were omitted because the accusations could not be substantiated; nine of these priests were still in active ministry

Sexual abuse cases in the Boston archdiocese

John Birmingham

In 1987, after at least 23 years of child molesting by Father Joseph Birmingham during which time he was shuffled to various parishes, the mother of an altar boy at St. Anns wrote to Law asking if Birmingham had a history of molesting children. Cardinal Law wrote back “I contacted Father Birmingham. … He assured me there is absolutely no factual basis to your concern regarding your son and him. From my knowledge of Father Birmingham and my relationship with him, I feel he would tell me the truth and I believe he is speaking the truth in this matter.” [26]

As a result of the unlawful sex, the Archdiocese of Boston lost millions of dollars in fines and settlements. It also funded the legal defense of accused priests. The archdiocese slipped into large financial deficits.[citation needed] The Archdiocese closed sixty-five parishes before Cardinal Law stepped down from service.

In response to the scandal, over fifty priests signed a letter declaring no confidence in Cardinal Law and asking him to resign [27] – something that had never before happened in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in America.

Paul Desilets

Paul Desilets, a retired Quebec priest, has been indicted on 27 counts of indecent assault and battery dating back to his time as a parish priest in Bellingham, Mass., between 1978 and 1984. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is seeking extradition.[28]

Robert V. Gale

Robert V. Gale was sentenced to 4.5–5 years in prison in 2004 after pleading guilty to repeatedly raping a boy in Waltham during the 1980s.[29][30] Gale (who had been treated in 1987 following years of abusing children[31][32][33][34]) began a restricted ministry around 1992,[35] living at St. Monica’s in South Boston while studying at the University of Massachusetts.

Cardinal Law, who had the ultimate authority, signed off on letting Gale remain at St. Monica’s. An adolescent reported that Gale abused him in his room/office in the rectory just a few months after Law’s decision was made.[30][32][35]

John Geoghan

John Geoghan (1935 – 2003) was accused of sexual abuse involving more than 130 children. Charges were brought in Cambridge, Massachusetts, concerning accusations of a molestation that took place in 1991. Geoghan was defrocked in 1998. He was found guilty in January 2002 of indecent assault and battery for grabbing the buttocks of a 10-year-old boy in a swimming pool at the Waltham Boys and Girls Club in 1991, and was sentenced to nine to ten years in prison.

The trial included testimony from the victim; from a psychiatrist, Dr. Edward Messner, who treated Geoghan for his sexual fantasies about children from 1994 to 1996; and from Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes, who testified that he banned Geoghan from the swimming club after a complaint that he had been proselytizing and had prurient conversations there.

After initially agreeing to, and pulling out of, a $30 million settlement with 86 of Geoghan’s victims, the Boston archdiocese settled with them for $10 million, and is still negotiating with lawyers for other victims. The most recent settlement proposed is $65 million for 542 victims. The settlements are being made because of evidence that the archdiocese had transferred Geoghan from parish to parish despite warnings of his behavior. Evidence also arose, as a result of allegations against Geoghan, that the archdiocese displayed a pattern of shipping other priests to new parishes when allegations of sexual abuse were made.

Two other cases were charged against Geoghan in Boston’s Suffolk County. One case was dropped without prejudice when the victim decided not to testify. In the second case, two rape charges were dismissed by a judge after hotly contested arguments because the statute of limitations had run out. The Commonwealth’s appeal of that ruling was active at the time of Geoghan’s death, and remaining charges of indecent assault in that case were still pending at that time.

On August 23, 2003, while in protective custody at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, Geoghan was strangled and stomped to death in his cell by Joseph Druce, a self-described white supremacist and inmate serving a sentence of life without possibility of parole for killing a man who allegedly made a sexual pass after picking Druce up hitchhiking. An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be “ligature strangulation and blunt chest trauma.” There have been questions raised about the wisdom and propriety of placing these two men in the same unit, since prison officials had been warned by another inmate that Druce had something planned.[15]

Paul Shanley

According to Leon Podles in his book Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church, “In late 1993, Shanley was sent to the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut, for evaluation. The Boston archdiocese has refused to release this evaluation, but other released files show that Shanley admitted to nine sexual encounters, of which four involved boys, and that he was diagnosed as “narcissistic” and “histrionic.” Shanley admitted that he was “attracted to adolescents” and on the basis of this confession, the Boston archdiocese secretly settled several lawsuits against Shanley. The archdiocese of Boston in 1993 had to admit to the diocese of San Bernardino part of the truth about Shanley, and the bishop of San Bernardino immediately dismissed him.”

In February 2005, Shanley was found guilty of indecent assaults and the rape of a male minor and received a sentence of 12 to 15 years in prison. Shanley’s case remains controversial because the allegations of abuse came only after the victim (now an adult) alleged that he “recovered” memories of the abuse from approximately 20 years earlier. The notion of “repressed memory” is highly controversial and has been excluded from several courts of law.[36] The manner in which the accusations against Shanley arose and enormous attention in the media also have given rise to questions about the validity of the convictions.[37][38][39][40][41]

Robert A. Ward affair

In February 2002, Rev. Robert A. Ward was accused of molesting an altar boy in Boston 1970. [42] [43][44][45] Records show that the archdiocese knew at least as early as 1995 that the pastor used cocaine and had been treated for drug abuse. The records also show that in 1999 Ward admitted to downloading of child pornography from the internet, a discovery made when a technician repaired Ward’s computer and noticed the sexually explicit material. Ward was suspended by the Archdiocese of Boston in February 2002 and defrocked by the Vatican in 2005 [46]

References