Diocese Confirms Priest Sex Abuse Claims

My Fox Maine
October 19, 2009 - Maine's Roman Catholic Diocese has substantiated sexual abuse claims against a deceased Maine priest, Fr. Joseph McGowan, who served at St. Mary's in Augusta, Sacred Heart in Portland, and St. Francis Xavier in Winthrop.

The Diocese of Portland has completed an investigation of sexual abuse complaints against McGowan received this summer involving incidents that took place between 1936 and 1949. The reported incidents took place while McGowan served as pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in Winthrop. A letter from Bishop Richard Malone read during Mass Saturday afternoon at St. Francis revealed that the complaints have been substantiated.

The bishop is directing that any memorials or tributes in McGowan's name displayed on church property be removed in support of those who were abused by McGowan. In addition, at the bishop's request, the Winthrop council of the Knights of Columbus is removing McGowan's name from their charter. The local council will select a new name in the future.

McGowan was born in Rhode Island in 1890 and was ordained in Baltimore in 1920. He retired in 1957 and died in 1962 at the age of 72.

Bishop Malone urged anyone who has been sexually abused by a church representative to contact the Diocese's Office of Professional Responsibility at 207-321-7836, or local law enforcement.


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