WOODSTOCK – A Cary man accused of sexually abusing a young girl was a maintenance worker at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School at the time of his arrest, a Diocese of Rockford spokeswoman said Friday.
Gerardo Gallaga, 61, of the 400 block of West James Way, was charged
Dec. 13 with aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The victim was younger than 13, according to a criminal complaint filed in McHenry County court.
After learning about the charges, the church’s pastor, Carl Beekman, sent a letter to students’ parents, notifying them of Gallaga’s arrest and confirming he had been put on immediate, unpaid leave.
“While we have no information about the alleged victim or where the alleged abuse took place, SS. Peter and Paul School and parish will fully cooperate with authorities if asked to do so in regard to this case,” Beekman wrote.
McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney John Gibbons declined to comment.
Gallaga posted 10 percent of his $50,000 bond and was released from the McHenry County Jail, according to a news release from the Woodstock Police Department issued Wednesday.
Gallaga told his defense attorney, Peter Carroll, that he was “affiliated” with the Diocese of Rockford and worked with children, Carroll said.
The attorney said although claims of sexual abuse always should be taken seriously, he’s skeptical of the accusations against Gallaga and worried about the “devastation” it could cause.
“I’m very skeptical of the accusation,” Carroll said. “If there were multiple accusations from several different people, that would be different.”
Carroll declined to comment on how Gallaga knew the person he is accused of abusing.
The attorney does not believe the child was someone Gallaga had access to through his job, Carroll said.
Gallaga is due back in court Jan. 5 for a hearing.
In his letter to parents, Beekman urged anyone who might be, or knows someone that has been, a victim of sexual abuse by a member of the Diocesan clergy, religious, church employee or volunteer to first call police, then call the Diocesan hotline at 815-293-7540.