One priest accused of sexually abusing a minor has been removed from ministry following an investigation, just days after the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced a separate priest was being placed on leave after allegations of sexual abuse.
Rev. Joesph Gallatin was removed from ministry, the archdiocese announced, after an investigation was found to have turned up "sufficient evidence" to support claims of sexual abuse of a minor. His case will go to Rome for a final determination, the news release says.
Gallatin denies the claims, and the archdiocese notes his removal shouldn't be viewed as guilt, but rather a precautionary measure.
From now until the case is resolved, Gallatin is barred from a number of activities, including celebrating Mass, assisting at weddings or funerals, preaching, and more. He was most recently pastor at Church of Saint Peter in Mendota.
The allegations date back to 1998, when the archdiocese was told Gallatin had "inappropriate physical contact" with a minor.
The accusation, according to an earlier release, involved Gallatin touching and rubbing a 17-year-old’s chest and abdomen, under the shirt, while on a mission trip. The teen said to have been sleeping and snoring at the time; he later reported it to chaperones.
His case went to the previous Archdiocesan Review Boards three times, but none said it qualified as "sexual abuse."
Since then, more information from people involved in the 1998 incident has been obtained, the archdiocese says, and the results of the new investigation were presented to the Ministerial Review Board, which made the decision.
That move comes just five days after the archdiocese announced it received an allegation of sexual abuse levied against another priest, Rev. Robert Fitzpatrick.
The claim says Patrick, a pastor at Corpus Christi parish and St. Rose of Lima parish and school in Roseville, sexually abused a minor in the 1980s. The archdiocese determined the accusation was credible, though notes that doesn't mean guilt.
He'll be on leave while the investigation happens; the archdiocese says it notified law enforcement.
According to the Star Tribune, an investigator and former monk called the pace of the decisive action recently by the archdiocese "extraordinary."
Investigated priest reinstated
The investigation into one priest, who in May was accused of sexually abusing a minor, is complete and concluded the claim was "not substantiated," the archdiocese announced.
Rev. Gerald Dvorak will return to public ministry as the pastor of the Church of Saint Peter in Richfield. He'd been accused of sexually abusing a minor in the 1970s, a claim that was treated as credible at the time and prompted an investigation.
Law enforcement was notified and an investigation undertaken, during which Dvorak went on voluntary leave.
The Archdiocesan Ministerial Review Board reviewed the case, and concluded Dvorak should be reinstated, a decision that authorities were notified of.