Indian priest arrested in Florida for showing pornographic material to minor

Rev. Jose Palimattom had a prior incident in India too.

By The American Bazaar Staff

WASHINGTON, DC: A visiting Catholic priest from India, Rev. Jose Palimattom, was arrested by Florida’s Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies on charges of indecency for asking a 14-year-old boy for help in deleting some alleged child pornography items off of his cellphone.

Rev. Jose Palimattom
Rev. Jose Palimattom

Palimattom was serving at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in West Palm Beach, reported ABC affiliate WPBF.

The Sun Sentinel reported that Palimattom is serving a two year residency, and has been serving only since December.

According to the report by the police, the boy, while attempting to remove the items, saw some 40 thumbnails which appeared to include child pornographic images and words including “little boys,” and “young boys 10-18 yoa.”

In returning home, the victim’s father was told of the incident and he immediately called the police. Deputies say that evening, the victim received a text message from Palimattom that said, “goodnight, sweet dreams,” the WPBF report said.

In speaking directly with the head Pastor, Palimattom admitted to asking the victim for help in deleting items off of his cellphone and also admitted that while in India he was involved with a minor male and was reprimanded by his superiors, but that the incident was not reported to law enforcement, the report said.

In a taped statement, Palimattom admitted to viewing child pornography privately as a “curiosity,” and stated while he knew the victim’s age, he considered him to be mature and viewed him as an adult, the report by deputies added.

The Diocese of Palm Beach issuing the following statement:

“The Diocese of Palm Beach is greatly concerned and takes very seriously the charges against Father Jose Palimattom, OFM. Father Palimottom is a priest of the Franciscan Province of St. Thomas the Apostle in India and began serving in December 2014 at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in West Palm Beach, a parish of the Diocese of Palm Beach. Father Palimattom was arrested yesterday on charges of possession of pornography and distributing it to a minor.

“Upon learning about the allegations, the Diocese of Palm Beach immediately contacted authorities and cooperated in the investigation conducted by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. This cooperation resulted in the arrest of Father Palimattom.

“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. As part of its due diligence, the diocese completed a background screening which also included a screening in India, and received a Certificate of Aptitude from the Minister Provincial in India. During this background process, no prior misconduct was revealed.

“Bishop Gerald Barbarito wishes to assure the faithful community that this allegation is being taken very seriously and expresses sincere regret to the family involved and all the faithful hurt by this regrettable matter.”

Palimattom is charged with obscenity and is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail. The diocese has refused to issue the bond for bail.

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