Cocoa Beach priest cleared of sexual abuse allegations, following his removal by Diocese of Orlando


  • Photo via Cocoa Beach Govt./Facebook
Rev. David Gillis, who was accused of sexual abuse of a minor, has been cleared of any wrong doing by the Berks County District Attorney's Office.

The allegations stemmed from Gillis' time in Pennsylvania, where he served at the Allentown Catholic Diocese from 1996 to 2005, when Gillis relocated to Central Florida. According to a news release from the Berks County DA, the allegation was initially reported by the biological father of the alleged victim. Though the father did not have any basis to name Gillis, the release states, he mentioned him because Gillis was a priest at St. John the Baptist de La Salle School in Berks County.

In late August, upon learning of the allegations against Gillis, the Diocese of Orlando removed the 65-year-old priest from his duties as pastor of Our Saviour Catholic Church in Cocoa Beach. According to the Berks County DA's release, the Diocese of Orlando removed Gillis from his post before the investigation concluded.

The investigation determined that the allegation against Gillis was false, after the alleged victim disclosed to detectives in an interview that she was not sexually abused by the priest. No additional evidence of wrongdoing was found, says Berks County officials.

"It is unfortunate that the accusation of child sexual abuse against Rev. Gillis was made public by the Diocese of Orlando before the outcome of this investigation could be determined. These types of investigations are very sensitive in nature. Many times when the accused is publicly mentioned prematurely, without any factual basis, it can compromise an investigation," writes Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams. "With regard to Rev. Gillis or any individual subject to an accusation, we must be cognizant that the accused has the right to due process."

The Diocese of Orlando had not returned Orlando Weekly's request for comment prior to publishing. This story will be updated upon their reply.

OW has updated our previous report on the allegations.

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