January 27, 2005

Official on leave over allegations

Bradenton Herald


An assistant middle school principal was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday after accusations surfaced that he sexually abused at least two minors more than 30 years ago when he was a Catholic seminarian.

David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, faxed a letter to Manatee County School Superintendent Roger Dearing on Wednesday contending Joseph Gilpin, an assistant principal at Haile Middle School, molested a boy while affiliated with the Catholic church between 1965 and 1968.

Clohessy wrote that he was contacted last week by another man who said he also was sexually abused by Gilpin between 1968 and 1970.

Gilpin has previously denied the accusations, according to a Boston Globe report published Jan. 31, 2002. Gilpin, a teacher and administrator in Manatee County schools since 1971, did not respond to repeated attempts by The Herald to contact him Wednesday.

School board member Barbara Harvey was stunned by the accusations.

"I do not believe anything negative about him," Harvey said when contacted at home. "I have known him for at least 20 years and I have found him to be very competent and trustworthy. I am deeply shocked at any allegations of this nature."

Posted by kshaw at January 27, 2005 07:54 AM