SCOTUS Declines to Hear Case Against the Diocese of Palm Beach, SNAP Reacts

We are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Fr. John Gallagher’s defamation case against the Diocese of Palm Beach.

When clergy whistle blowers find the strength and courage to help speak out on behalf of children, they should be rewarded, not retaliated against by their superiors. Our hearts ache for Fr. Gallagher and the trials and tribulations he has been through.

Church officials at the Diocese of Palm Beach should have been grateful to Fr. Gallagher for helping law enforcement prosecute a priest who showed child pornography to a teenager. Instead, Fr. Gallagher asserts, he was denied a promotion because of his actions. When the priest told the media, the Diocese publicly denounced him as "blatantly lying" and "in need of professional assistance." We are concerned that the SCOTUS decision may set the stage for other dioceses to retaliate against clergy whistle blowers with impunity.

Protecting children requires constant vigilance. We are disheartened to see that vigilance in this case apparently not only went unrewarded, but was also punished. In addition, we are discouraged that the courts chose to see this as an issue of a religious freedom, rather than one of child protection.

CONTACT: Becky Ianni, SNAP Virginia leader ([email protected], 703-801-6044) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant