Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Monday, October 19, 2009

Abuse Complaints Confirmed Against Maine Priest; SNAP responds

Statement by Barbara Dorris, National Outreach Director for SNAP 314-862-7688

Survivors network of those Abused by Priests

We are heartened by the Diocese of Portland removing public tributes to Fr. Joseph McGowan who has been credibly accused of child sexual assault. We hope they will not stop there. We hope that the bishop will personally visit every parish where McGowan worked and encourage anyone who has been hurt by a member of the clergy to come forward and get the help they need and deserve. Anyone who saw or suspected abuse should be required to report these horrific crimes to law enforcement. Many times employees and church volunteers fail to report what they know about these misdeeds in the misguided notion they are protecting the church.

It is never too late to come forward, expose predators and get healing. No matter how old you may be or how long ago the crimes may have happened, we urge you, if you have been hurt, to speak up so that others will know the truth and be comforted

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 21 years and have more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747)

Oct 19, 2009 8:26 am US/Eastern

Abuse Complaints Confirmed Against Maine Priest

WINTHROP, Maine (AP) ― The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland says it has confirmed sexual abuse complaints against a priest that took place more than 60 years ago.

Bishop Richard Malone read a letter Saturday to parishioners at St. Francis Xavier Church in Winthrop that said the incidents involving the Rev. Joseph R. McGowan took place between 1936 and 1949 while McGowan served as pastor at the church.

Malone said he is directing the removal of any memorials or tributes to McGowan on church property. Church officials say the Winthrop council of the Knights of Columbus is removing McGowan's name from its charter at the bishop's request.

McGowan died in 1962 at the age of 72. He served at churches in Augusta, Portland and Winthrop before retiring in 1957.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests