WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS) — An Indian priest faced an obscenity charge after asking a teenage boy to help him delete images of child pornography from his cellphone.
Franciscan Father Jose Palimattom was jailed Jan. 5 after admitting he asked a 14-year-old boy to help delete various files on his phone and that the image showed up during the purge.
Police said he also told them he had been reprimanded by his superiors in Franciscan Province of St. Thomas the Apostle in India for being involved with a boy, but that the incident was not reported to law enforcement authorities.
The Diocese of Palm Beach said Father Palimattom began serving at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in West Palm Beach in December after being screened. The diocese said he had been certified for ministry by provincial authorities in India.
Police said they learned of the incident from the boy’s father Jan. 4 after the boy told him about the images.
The diocese said it contacted the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office immediately after learning of the allegation and cooperated with the investigation that led to the priest’s arrest.
“The Diocese of Palm Beach completes a thorough screening of visiting priests and religious before granting them faculties to minister or celebrate sacraments within its diocese,” the church statement said.
“During this background process, no prior misconduct was revealed,” it said.
A police report indicated Father Palimattom told investigators he had served for two years in Florida, the Associated Press reported. He denied any molestation to detectives and said that he viewed child pornography out of curiosity, the police report said.
Police also said the priest sent the teen a Facebook message hours after showing his phone to him. “Goodnight, sweet dreams,” the message said.
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: