|Diocese Orders Tributes to Priest Removed
October 19, 2009
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland says it's "substantiated" complaints that Fr. Joseph R. McGowan engaged in sexual abuse several decades ago while serving as pastor at a church in Winthrop.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is removing memorials and tributes to a deceased priest they say likely engaged in sexual abuse several decades ago.
Diocese officials say the incidents took place betweeen 1936 and 1949 while Fr. Joseph R. McGowan was serving as pastor at St. Francis Xavier Church in Winthrop. They say the complaints against McGowan have been "substantiated," and they've ordered that any memorials or tributes in McGowan's name on church property be removed.
At the Bishop Richard Malone's request, the Knights of Columbus is also removing McGowan's name from its charter.
During his priesthood, McGowan served at St. Mary's Church in Augusta, Sacred Heart Church in Portland and St. Francis Xavier Church in Winthrop. He retired in 1957 and died in 1962 at age 72.
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