Fr. Joseph D. Galko (Diocese of Allentown)

Father Joseph D. Galko

Diocese of Allentown

Ordained: 1980

Placed on Administrative Leave: Feb. 1988

Dismissed from priesthood (laicized): June 2010

Assigned as follows:

  • St. Paul (Reading, PA)                                1980-1982
  • St. Anne (Bethlehem, PA)                           1982-1983
  • St. Ambrose (Schuykill Haven, PA)             1983-1986
  • St. Bernard (Easton, PA)                            1986-1987

Summary of Allegations Against Fr. Joseph Galko:

According to records reviewed by the grand jury during its investigation, Galko was ordained by the Diocese of Allentown at the age of 36, which is significantly older than most priests.  The exact reasons why he was ordained at an advanced age have not been disclosed publicly, and, while they could be innocuous, it could also be indicative of red flags in Galko’s history that caused concerns about his fitness for ministry.  The exact reasons why would be the subject of discovery in any civil lawsuit that would be filed against the Diocese of Allentown.

As early as 1984, the Diocese of Allentown had actual knowledge that Galko was sexually abusing his parishioners.  He admitted to having sexual contact with an 18-year-old parishioner, and also admitted to engaging in mutual oral copulation another male (age undisclosed in the grand jury report) at the rectory at St. Ambrose.  When pressed, he admitted to “occasional occurrences” of similar behavior with males before, during, and after his ordination, including while he was in seminary.  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.

That Galko was on administrative leave for 22 years (1988-2010), no doubt receiving benefits from the Diocese of Allentown, is particularly disturbing.  Despite the knowledge that he posed a danger to those around him, the Diocese of Allentown no doubt did little to no monitoring of Galko during this time period (based upon statements made by the Diocese of Allentown in the case of other priests that there is no diocesan monitoring of accused priests not in active ministry), and left the Allentown community vulnerable to additional abuse.

Galko is believed to be alive and still 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.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or today.