Tyrone priest John Gallagher 'a hero for exposing paedophile' in US
A US-based priest from Co Tyrone who was frozen out of the Catholic Church after exposing abuse should be treated as a hero, it has been claimed.
The Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee said it was outraged after Fr John A Gallagher was effectively fired for reporting a colleague to police after he showed sickening child porn images to a boy aged 14.
Father 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 - showed the teenager up to 40 images. Police believe he was grooming his victim.
Fr Gallagher, who is originally from Strabane, is living in a friend's home after the locks at his parochial house were changed and he was placed on medical leave by his bishop in the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida.
The 48-year-old claims he was told by a Church official to put Palimattom on a plane rather than co-operate with police.
Yesterday, the Catholic Whistleblowers - a network in the Church dedicated to supporting survivors of abuse and exposing cover-ups - said Fr Gallagher "has been treated shabbily".
"Instead of hailing Fr Gallagher as a hero for holding a fellow priest accountable for alleged sexual misdeeds against a minor child, the Diocese of Palm Beach in essence fired Fr Gallagher from his priestly ministry - all because he wasn't silent about alleged sexual abuse of minor children," the group said.
It demanded that senior officials, including Pope Francis, intervene and that the Church apologise, adding: "It is outrageous that Fr Gallagher, who has been lauded by law enforcement officials for contacting them about alleged sexual abuse of a minor child by a priest, is not being treated as a hero by Catholic Church officials."