January 28, 2005

Sexual allegations threaten educator's 30-year career

Herald Tribune



MANATEE COUNTY -- As a young man, Joseph Gilpin was torn between the priesthood and a career in teaching. He spent eight years in seminary in the North before seeking a new start in Florida.

He found it. He spent more than 30 years in the Manatee schools developing a reputation as a hard-working educator who had a good rapport with students.

But remnants of his past have returned, and now Gilpin has been suspended from his job and is facing a crisis that threatens his career and reputation.

Details of a lawsuit settled in 2004 portray Gilpin as a man who took advantage of his position as a spiritual leader. Gilpin is accused of raping and molesting a young boy in the late 1960s while Gilpin was studying to be a priest. Another man who says Gilpin molested him from 1968 to 1970 recently brought forth his allegations, and a Catholic church official in Maine says they seem credible.

Posted by kshaw at January 28, 2005 09:57 AM