Catholic Church decided not to unfrock priest who abused deaf boys
Neil Gallanagh (pictured)
A priest who admitted indecently assaulting deaf boys at a school in Yorkshire has been allowed to remain as a cleric, it can be revealed, as the scandal over abuse cover-ups in the Catholic Church moves to Britain.
The Rt Rev Arthur Roche, the Bishop of Leeds, sent letters to the Vatican asking for advice on what action should be taken against Fr Neil Gallanagh, after details of his offences emerged, but decided not to unfrock him.
Victims’ support groups said that the Catholic Church’s failure to pursue the toughest possible course of action against Gallanagh seriously undermined its attempts to send a clear statement that priests guilty of abuse have been properly punished.
The decision not to unfrock Gallanagh, who also abused children at deaf school, is likely to prove embarrassing for the Catholic Church in England and Wales, which has up until now escaped from being dragged into the crisis that has engulfed the Catholic church in several countries over the past year.
Catholic priests have been accused of abusing children in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Germany.
Gallanagh abused boys while working as the chaplain of St John’s School for the Deaf in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, in the 1970s. The abuse first came to light in 2002, by which time he was working as a parish priest in Horsforth, Leeds.