Defrocked Priests Had Served Locally

Morning Sentinel
June 3, 2008

The two Maine priests the Vatican has dismissed from the clergy spent parts of their careers ministering in central Maine.

The Vatican passed down its most severe penalty -- laicization -- to George Beaudet, 69, and Michael Plourde, 57, stripping them of their authority to minister and cutting their ties to church authorities, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland officials announced Friday.

Beaudet, who now lives out of Maine, served at Notre Dame in Waterville in 1974 and 1976 to 1978; and Notre Dame de Lourdes, in Skowhegan, from 1987 to 1994. His most recent assignment was at St. Anne in Dexter.

Plourde served at St. Mary in Augusta, from 1990 to 1992; and St. John the Baptist, Winslow, from 1992 to 1993. He also was the assistant to the lay chaplain at the Augusta Mental Health Institute, now known as Riverview Psychiatric Center, from 1993 to 1994.

The diocese had previously removed both priests from the ministry while the Vatican investigated the allegations of abuse.

Church officials removed Beaudet from the ministry in 2000, when accusations that he sexually abused children first surfaced.

The allegations against Beaudet dated back to 1980. The diocese received additional complaints against him in 2002.

Accusations against Plourde allege he abused minors between 1976 and 1978. The diocese received the first report of that abuse in 1994 and subsequently removed him from the ministry.

In 1989, according to diocesan officials, Plourde was removed from the ministry and referred for counseling following a complaint alleging sexual misconduct toward an adult.

The diocese did not disclose where either priest is living, except that Beaudet resides out of state.

Harvey Paul and Paul Kendrick, two Maine advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse, said they believed Plourde lives in Biddeford.

In January 2007, as the Vatican investigated abuse accusations, the diocese announced it had removed six priests from the ministry since accusations surfaced. Diocese officials decided to disclose the names because of "how long it was taking for cases to be resolved and the possible risk of re-offense in the cases of those who had not previously been publicly identified," a statement from the diocese said.

Information from the Associated Press and the Portland Press Herald was used in this report.


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