“A 69-year-old church deacon faces felony charges amid accusations he sexually abused two young church members.
Irondale police on Thursday announced the charges against Collin Galletly Jr. He is not yet in custody.
Det. Sgt. Michael Mangina said the investigation began in November 2017 when the legal guardian of two girls, ages 9 and 12, filed a report with the Irondale Police Department claiming the children were inappropriately touched by a deacon at McElwain Baptist Church in Birmingham.
The guardian and the children live in Irondale. Mangina said the alleged sexual misconduct happened both at the church and elsewhere. Galletly, he said, was tutoring the girls in reading and mathematics.
He said Galletly was suspended from his role as a deacon once the investigation began, but the victims still attend the church, which is located at 4445 Montevallo Road.
Mangina said he couldn’t go into much detail because of the nature of the crimes and the age of the victims. “The best way to describe his inappropriate behavior is weird, creepy and not normal,” he said. “There’s no doubt in my mind this guy was stopped before he did something even worse.”
Irondale investigators on Wednesday obtained warrants against Galletly. He is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, and one count each of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 and second-degree sexual abuse. He is reportedly out of town and is expected to turn himself in. His bond will be set at $30,000.
The Rev. Jon Glass, senior pastor at McElwain, said church officials were heartbroken when they heard the accusations against Galletly. “Our hearts go out to the children and family that have been victimized this abuse.The safety and security of our children is a top priority at McElwain,” Glass said in a statement to AL.com. “When we learned about these actions in November of last year, we were immediately in contact with the local law enforcement. We informed Mr. Galletly that he could no longer attend church services at McElwain Baptist Church until this matter is concluded.”
“We have worked with the victims to provide support and encouragement to them,” he said, “and will continue to do. We are praying for healing for the victims in this case.”
Mangina said investigators believe there could be more victims. If anyone else suspects potential abuse related to Galletly, they are asked to email detectives at email@example.com.”