From Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda
Today, Rev. Joseph Gallatin was removed from ministry and his case involving an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has been referred to Rome for adjudication and final resolution.
In 1998, the Archdiocese received an allegation that Rev. Gallatin had inappropriate physical contact with a minor. The matter was considered by three Archdiocesan Review Boards, in 1998, 2002 and 2014. Each time, the earlier Boards concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to support a finding that Rev. Gallatin’s conduct in 1998 constituted sexual abuse of a minor. The 2014 Board recommended that Rev. Gallatin be permitted to continue in limited ministry. Rev. Gallatin’s ministry was restricted accordingly.
Since the 2014 Review Board’s recommendation, additional information from people involved in the 1998 incident has been obtained. The Archdiocese conducted further investigation and, as that information was uncovered, additional restrictions were placed on Rev. Gallatin’s ministry. Last month, investigative results were presented to the newly-formed Ministerial Review Board (MRB). The MRB reviewed the entire matter, including information from years ago, the actions of previous review boards, and investigative information obtained recently.
The MRB concluded that there is sufficient evidence to support an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. Because of that, the MRB recommended that Rev. Gallatin’s case be referred to Rome for adjudication in accordance with Canon Law. Judge Tim O’Malley, Director of the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, has also reviewed this matter and was present for all MRB deliberations. He is in agreement with the MRB’s findings and recommendation for referral to Rome.
I do not know how long it will take for Rome to resolve this matter, but I have confidence that they will proceed with fairness and justice for all parties involved. Effective immediately and for the duration of time that this matter is pending in Rome, Rev. Gallatin is prohibited from celebrating Mass in the presence of laity, hearing confessions, preaching, assisting at weddings or funerals or otherwise engaging in any priestly ministry. Rev. Gallatin is not permitted to wear a collar or present himself as a priest publicly. Imposing these precautionary measures reflects the seriousness of the allegation, but should not be viewed as a presumption of guilt. Rev. Gallatin has denied that he has sexually abused a minor and is accorded the presumption of innocence during this time.
The Ministerial Review Board serves as a confidential, advisory body that advises the Archbishop and the Director of the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environments in their assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons. Learn more.