Maine Bishop Suspends Priest Accused of Groping Teen
The Clergyman, a Texas Pastor since 2004, Served for 18 Months in Maine.
By Mark Peters
Portland Press Herald (Maine)
December 21, 2005
Maine's Catholic bishop has suspended a retired priest who was charged with groping a teenage boy in a Texas movie theater last week.
The decision by Bishop Richard Malone means the Rev. Paul Clogan, 74, can no longer minister to parishioners, including those at a church outside Austin where he agreed to serve as pastor after retiring last year. The suspension was up to Malone because Clogan was ordained in Maine, said Sue Bernard, spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.
Clogan has not served in a Maine parish since the fall of 2000. He spent 18 months in the state, serving in Machias, Cherryfield and Waterville, after being ordained in May 1999 at age 68.
Malone is alerting those parishes of the suspension and pending criminal charge. The diocese received no allegations of wrongdoing by Clogan during his time at the Maine churches or when he served as hospital chaplain for a month in Bangor, Bernard said.
"There is nothing in the files. There is no allegation whatsoever of this kind of behavior," she said.
Born in Boston in 1931, Clogan eventually got married and raised a family in Texas, according to the Diocese of Portland. He worked for 35 years as an English professor at schools in Ohio, North Carolina and Texas and was widowed before joining the priesthood.
He attended a seminary in Massachusetts before his 1999 ordination in Lewiston. His first assignment was as chaplain at Eastern Maine Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor.
After 18 months in Maine, Clogan requested a transfer to Texas.
Officials for the Portland and Austin dioceses did not know what attracted Clogan to Maine to start his career. Clogan did not respond to a message left at the parish he was serving in Texas.
Police in Marble Falls, Texas, said Clogan went to see "King Kong" last Friday at a movie theater. Once there, he sat next to a 16-year-old male, watched about half the movie and then proceeded to grope the teenager, police said. The teen fled the theater and told the manager, who called the police, Capt. F.P. Goodwin of the Marble Falls Police Department said in a phone interview Tuesday.
After an investigation, police charged Clogan with indecency with a child by sexual contact, a felony in Texas. Research showed Clogan hadn't been arrested before, police said.
Bishop Gregory Aymond of the Diocese of Austin announced last Saturday that Clogan would no longer serve as pastor in Horseshoe Bay, Texas, where he had been since August 2004.
Although Clogan has no allegations of wrongdoing in Maine, Bernard said anyone with new information should report it.
The Diocese of Portland and other Catholic dioceses around the country have faced criticism in recent years for their handling of sexual abuse by priests.
The Portland diocese turned over information in 2002 to the Maine Attorney General's Office about past allegations made against priests but has not released the information to the public. Earlier this year, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ordered the Attorney General's Office to release the names of priests who were once accused of sexually abusing children but are no longer alive.
Michael Sweatt, spokesman for Voice of the Faithful, which wants lay people to have more say in church matters, said the incident in Texas is an example of why those files need to become public. The church is saying that no allegations were made against Clogan during his tenure in Maine, but parishioners should be able to confirm that for themselves, he said.
"The list is kind of this big secret, and all the while children are exposed," Sweatt said.
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