U.S. Supreme Court blocks South Florida priest’s libel lawsuit against Catholic Church

Sun Sentinel

April 22, 2019

By Marc Freeman

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ended a South Florida priest’s hopes to sue the Catholic Church for defamation.

After previous legal setbacks, the Rev. John Gallagher had prayed for the high court to revive his three-year-old case against the Diocese of Palm Beach.

Without explanation, the court denied Gallagher’s petition, after allowing a national child protection group to support his claim.

In a text message to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Gallagher, 51, said he had received the ruling but declined to comment. His attorney, Ted Babbitt, could not be reached immediately.

The West Palm Beach priest had insisted the church libeled him after he publicly accused his superiors of trying to cover up another priest’s sexual misconduct involving a 14-year-old boy.

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