Father Joseph Galko
Diocese of Allentown
Administrative Leave: 1988
Assigned as follows:
- 1980-1982: St. Paul (Reading, PA)
- 1982-1983: St. Anne (Bethlehem, PA)
- 1983-1986: St. Ambrose (Schuykill Haven, PA)
- 1986-1987: St. Bernard (Easton, PA)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Joseph Galko:
Fr. Joseph Galko was ordained a priest in 1980, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Allentown. According to media reports, in 2018, he was first named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury report. It noted that as early as 1984, the Diocese had knowledge that the priest was sexually abusing his parishioners. He admitted to having sexual contact with an 18-year-old parishioner. He also admitted to engaging in mutual oral copulation with another male at the rectory at St. Ambrose. He ultimately admitted to “occasional occurrences” of similar behavior with males before, during, and after his ordination, including while he was in seminary. No action was taken and he remained at St. Ambrose for another two years after these admissions.
In 1987, the Diocese of Allentown received a report that Galko was spending “too much” time with the altar boys at St. Bernard’s parish, followed by a second report from a fellow priest that Galko’s interactions with teenage boys concerned him. Based upon our firm’s experience, both of these reports are classic red flags – expressed in code words – that children are being abused. Indeed, Galko was removed from the parish and sent for inpatient treatment at a facility in Downington, Pennsylvania, where many priests accused of sexual abuse were sent by dioceses across the country. One of his therapist evaluators reported to the Diocese of Allentown that Galko was a pathological liar and that his prognosis for improvement was grim, according to the grand jury report.
In 2002, the Diocese of Allentown was approached by a young man who alleged that he was sexually abused by Galko in 1980 or 1981, when he was 17 or 18 years old, after Galko got him drunk in his rectory room. He reported fondling of his penis and buttocks on multiple occasions.
In 2007, another victim approached the Diocese of Allentown and reported that he was abused as a 13-year-old at St. Anne’s School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The was asked to carry some things to the rectory, where he met Galko, who quickly befriended the boy. While the boy was in 8th grade at the school, Galko often had him come to the rectory, where he plied the boy with alcohol and engaged him in mutual fondling/stimulation once the boy was intoxicated. According to the documents reviewed by the grand jury, Galko admitted to the allegation when confronted by the Diocese of Allentown. We believe this admission likely served as the basis for the involuntary laicization petition sent to the Vatican by the Diocese of Allentown.
Galko was on administrative leave for 22 years (1988-2010), no doubt receiving benefits from the Diocese of Allentown. Despite the knowledge that he posed a danger to those around him, the Diocese of Allentown reportedly did little to no monitoring of Galko during this time period and left the Allentown community vulnerable to additional abuse.
Galko is believed to be residing in the Allentown area.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.