NEW YORK CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - A disgraced priest is exposing corruption in the archdiocese of New York.
Kevin Gallagher is trying to draw attention to the widespread archdiocesan corruption and leadership vacuum created by Cdl. Timothy Dolan.
"I was weak and I fell flat on my face," said Gallagher in an interview with Church Militant, referring to a homosexual affair that led to his expulsion from the priesthood earlier this year. But Gallagher is decrying his treatment at the hands of Cdl. Dolan, citing weakness and hypocrisy that have left much of the archdiocese in shambles.
Gallagher said, "New York deserves a strong Church, a good Church but that's not going to happen unless we have a strong, good shepherd. And we don't have one now."
Gallagher was ordained to the priesthood in 1998, and until his laicization on March 9, was a priest in good standing who loved his work. He preserved his virginity for 62 years, bearing witness to his chastity as a soldier in Vietnam, a hospital worker, and finally as a priest. But after a heart surgery in 2011, Gallagher started to find his long days oppressive and began pushing back Mass times and neglecting his priestly duties owing to his growing weakness and lack of energy.
Gallagher now admits he was too proud to ask for help at the time, and he began trying to sate his loneliness with company, like meeting friends for dinners. One of his new contacts was a young man named Michael Kyles. Gallagher had participated in an ecumenical funeral service for Michael's brother in 2009, yet otherwise had no relation to the 21-year-old.
Gallagher ended up having a total of five sexual encounters with Michael. Gallagher also admits to helping Michael financially — money that, unbeknownst to Gallagher, eventually went to fuel Michael's drug habit.
Recognizing the error of his ways, Gallagher laments having succumbed to sexual desire. "It was 40 percent out of lust and 60 percent out of curiosity." But Gallagher denies any sexual improprieties beyond his affair with Michael, and none have been alleged or reported.
After rumors of the affair began leaking out, Gallagher kept mum on his sexual dalliances. He was able to keep the story of his affair mostly under wraps until July 2014, when the mother of Michael's girlfriend, Tina Gordon, began claiming that Gallagher had given Michael drug money and had had relations with underage boys. A newspaper article published in May 2015 doubled down on the claims and left Gallagher publicly disgraced.
The claims of pederasty were untrue, a fact later shown as the local district attorney closed its investigation against the priest. A private investigator hired by the archdiocese to pursue those same claims also reported back that there had been no encounters whatsoever with any minors.
But at that time, Cdl. Dolan was dealing with the fallout of the child abuse crisis during his tenure as archbishop of Milwaukee. Instead of trying to get to the truth of the matter, Gallagher says the archbishop sent him away out of state to St. Luke's Hospital, allegedly for mental health treatment, but in truth because he was hoping the story would die down. Gallagher believes sending him to St. Luke's allowed Dolan to make it seem like he was taking a firm stand against sexual abuse — charges that proved completely unsubstantiated and fabricated by Michael's girlfriend.
For priests, St. Luke's has the reputation of being both a mental health facility and a place where bishops can stash priests whose problems prove to be troublesome for a diocese. Gallagher took extensive diagnostic tests, saying he kept failing. "Everyone who took that evaluation stayed," he said.
Gallagher asked one of his doctors, "When was the last time you gave someone a clean bill of health?"
The doctor replied, "Never."
According to Gallagher, two psychologists told him the only reason he was sent to St. Luke's was for political reasons, and that otherwise he would've simply received spiritual direction for his problems.
It didn't help that while at St. Luke's, Gallagher made unflattering comments about higher-ups in New York, at one point wondering aloud why he was being kept at St. Luke's for treatment of homosexuality, when Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo, the Vicar General, and Msgr. Michael Hull, a Scripture professor at St. Joseph's Seminary, did not have to undergo similar treatment. Persistent and longstanding rumors, supported by various sources had swirled around the two priests suggesting an intimate relationship that had been protected by former archbishop Cdl. Edward Egan.
As reported by Church Militant, Michael Hull was an up-and-coming "golden boy" of the New York archdiocese and was given charge of the Fulton J. Sheen Center. Hull absconded in 2013, reportedly leaving Mustaciuolo heartbroken. Hull is now a married Episcopalian pastor living in Scotland, with a wife considerably younger than him by decades.
Gallagher does not defend his actions. He readily admits everything that has happened to him is his fault. But he wonders why the archdiocese has pursued his case so severely when it has given priests who have committed far worse improprieties a second chance and, at times, lucrative positions.
He notes Msgr. James White, a rector at a minor seminary, was found with cocaine in his car. Also, Fr. John Wolsey, who went to prison for stealing money, was returned to active duty upon his release.
Father William Damrouth caused the break-up of a marriage after having an affair with a woman. Damrouth avoided being sent to St. Luke's for treatment and instead was transferred to another parish, where he proceeded to hit on women, according to Gallagher. More than this, Damrouth allegedly committed many financial improprieties, charging the parish with personal items amounting to at least $6,000, according to an internal audit.
When Gallagher reported this to Mustaciuolo, a check from the archdiocese was immediately sent to the parish for $6,000, and nothing else ever came of it.
The most egregious example is that of Fr. Peter Miqueli, accused of embezzling $1 million from his parish for his gay-for-pay prostitute — all allegedly with the knowledge and protection of Mustaciuolo, a good friend of Miqueli's. Cardinal Dolan had been aware of the accusations against Fr. Miqueli for about two years, but it wasn't until after a lawsuit filed by parishioners against the archdiocese that Miqueli was finally forced to step down. Even so, the archdiocese has refused to laicize him.
"How can the main[stream] press not pick this up?" he wondered incredulously about the many scandals that have arisen over the tenures of Cdls. Egan and Dolan. "Who had the power?"
The laicized priest yearns for strong leadership. "The archdiocese of New York needs men," he said. When the archdocese was led by John O'Connor, the archbisop "was a man. He was a holy man. I can't say that now [of Dolan], of whom he has harsh words: "You're the cardinal archbishop of New York. Act like it!"
"Support your priests. Defend your priests. Lead your priests. Don't just throw them out there," he insisted.
"A good shepherd does not run behind his flock," he remarked. "When an enemy comes, a good shepherd runs out to protect them. A hired boy runs behind. [Cardinal Dolan] ran behind. He pushed me right out there."