Father Simon Palathingal
Diocese of Lake Charles (Salesians)
Assigned as follows:
- 1972-1991: Chennai (Tamil Nadu, India)
- 1991: Jordan House (Milwaukee, WI)
- 1991: Mother of Good Counsel (Milwaukee, WI)
- 1991-1993: (India)
- 1993-2000: (U.S.)
- 2000-2001: Our Lady Queen of Heaven (Lake Charles, LA)
- 2001: St. Bernadette’s (Parlin, NJ)
- 2001-2004: St. Mary’s (South Amboy, NJ)
- 2004-2019: Unknown
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Simon Palathingal:
Father Simon Palathingal was ordained a priest of the Religious Congregation of the Salesians, Bangalore Province in 1972. He served in multiple parishes throughout his career including in the Diocese of Lake Charles. He lived In India for years and is said to have been vice-principal of a prominent boys’ school in Chennai. He moved to the United States in 1991.
According to media reports, in September 2004, Father Palathingal pleaded guilty to to two counts of first-degree sexual assault on a 9 year-old boy in 1990 and 1991. He was suspended from ministry in 1993. The boy’s uncle, Father Dennis Pecore, who was himself a convicted sex offender, found Father Palathingal in bed with the boy in 1991 at Jordan House, a residence for elderly Salvatorian priests and brothers.
At the time of the alleged abuse, Father Palathingal was studying at Marquette University, a Jesuit institution in Milwaukee. At the time of his arrest, he was working for the Diocese of Metuchen at St. Mary’s Church in South Amboy, NJ. Bishop Paul Bootkoski of the Diocese of Metuchen said, “We had no knowledge of his being in Milwaukee until he was arrested in South Amboy.”
Father Palathingal was sentenced to two 16-year prison sentences, to be served concurrently, and was to be eligible for parole after 4 years. He was released from prison in December 2011. Noncompliant on Sex Offender Registry 1/12.
In late 1991, a parishioner had warned Bishop Sklba of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee that boys were seen coming and going from Jordan House. Sklba said he discussed the issue with the coordinator, Father Pecore, and was satisfied when he told him there was not a problem.
The Milwaukee District Attorney was aware of the allegations made against Father Palathingal in 1993, but did not pursue a court case, because the boy had already testified in a similar case involving abuse by his uncle, who was eventually sentenced to 12 years in prison.
“It was a tremendous ordeal. We didn’t think (prosecution) was in the best interest of the child,” Milwaukee District Attorney Gale Shelton said.
Father Palathingal went to India after the incident was reported to authorities. While away, he sent letters to the boy he had abused in Milwaukee. When the charges were dropped, Father Palathingal returned to the US and continued working as a priest in several states and was later accused of further abuse.
In December 2001, the Diocese of Metuchen hired Father Palathingal. He was suspected of abuse at Our Lady Queen of Heaven in Louisiana in 2002, but the parents of the alleged victim refused to meet with authorities, and the investigation was dropped.
In April 2019, Father Palathingal’s name appeared on the Diocese of Lake Charles’ list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. It noted multiple allegations of abuse were reported in 2000 and 2002. Information about the age/gender of his alleged victim/victims and the nature of the alleged sexual abuse was not provided by the Diocese of Lake Charles.
The current whereabouts of Fr. Simon Palathingal are unknown.
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