Palm Beach Priest Accused of Sex Crimes
January 6, 2015
A West Palm Beach Catholic priest is under arrest - accused of showing child porn to a 14-year-old boy. Police say 47-year-old Jose Palimattom was working as a priest and living on the grounds of Holy Name Catholic Church in West Palm Beach.
Police say he admitted to showing the teen, church member underage porn. Palimattom was in court Tuesday morning. Police say the church's pastor found out what happened, but it was the child's father who alerted authorities.
According to the police report, Palimattom also got in trouble in India for being involved with an underage boy while working there. That incident was not reported to law enforcement.
The Diocese of Palm Beach County issued this statement:
“The Diocese of Palm Beach is greatly concerned and takes very seriously the charges against Father Jose Palimattom, OFM. Father Palimottom is a priest of the Franciscan Province of St. Thomas the Apostle in India and began serving in December 2014 at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in West Palm Beach, a parish of the Diocese of Palm Beach. Father Palimattom was arrested yesterday on charges of possession of pornography and distributing it to a minor.
Upon learning about the allegations, the Diocese of Palm Beach immediately contacted authorities and cooperated in the investigation conducted by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. This cooperation resulted in the arrest of Father Palimattom.
The Diocese of Palm Beach completes a thorough screening of visiting priests and religious before granting them faculties to minister or celebrate sacraments within its diocese. As part of its due diligence, the diocese completed a background screening which also included a screening in India, and received a Certificate of Aptitude from the Minister Provincial in India. During this background process, no prior misconduct was revealed.
Bishop Gerald Barbarito wishes to assure the faithful community that this allegation is being taken very seriously and expresses sincere regret to the family involved and all the faithful hurt by this regrettable matter.
The Diocese of Palm Beach encourages anyone who may have additional information on this or similar matters to contact the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office at 561 688-3400 and the Chancellor of the Diocese of Palm Beach at 561-775-9500.”