Group shows support for whistleblower priest

By Al Pefley
CBS 12
January 27, 2016

Members show support for whistleblower priest Father Gallagher.

A West Palm Beach priest who says the church shunned him after he turned in a pedophile priest is getting a show of support.

Demonstrators came together outside the Diocese of Palm Beach in Palm Beach Gardens Tuesday afternoon.

About 10 members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, gathered on the sidewalk near the Diocese to support Father Gallagher.

A couple of them held signs at a news conference. But they did not conduct a demonstration or march.

"Instead of being praised for protecting a child victim of sexual abuse, it seems as though the Bishop and the Church are punishing the ones who are doing the right thing," said SNAP member David Pittman.

"As far as I'm concerned he's top notch," said Marie Jennings, a parishioner at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church.

Gallagher, who was serving at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church near West Palm Beach, says he has been ostracized and demoted.

He also says it happened right after he reported Father Jose Palimatton, a fellow priest at the church, for showing pornographic photos to a 14-year-old boy .

Gallagher blew the whistle and reported what Palimatton did to the Diocese but Gallagher says the Diocese didn't want to hear it, and shunned him.

"I was told I that I had a choice of either taking a demotion or to resign from priesthood. Those were my options," said Gallagher.

"I think it's abominable. I give Father Gallagher a lot of credit," Jennings said.

The Diocese has denied the priest's claims it ignored him. The Diocese says it responded as soon as it became aware of the incident and cooperated with law enforcement.

The Diocese also says Gallagher was not demoted.

Father Palimatton, the priest involved, was here from India. He confessed, accepted a plea offer and spent 6 months in prison and was deported.

SNAP, meanwhile, says it wants an investigation to make sure there was no cover-up in this case.

We asked the Diocese for comment Tuesday afternoon, and we're waiting for a response.


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