July 16, 2005

Priest sentenced to two years in decades-old abuse case


By Denise Lavoie, AP Legal Affairs Writer | July 15, 2005

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. --A priest accused of molesting a girl beginning when she was 9 years old in the 1960s pleaded guilty Friday and was ordered to serve two years in prison after his victim said in court that the priest had robbed her of her childhood.

New Bedford Superior Court Judge Gary Nickerson also ordered the Rev. Donald Bowen to serve 10 years of probation after his prison sentence, because of what the judge said was the 67-year-old's "minimization" of what he had done.

Bowen pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, and one count of unnatural and lascivious acts on a child under 16.

The abuse took place between 1965 and 1971 while Bowen served at St. Mary's parish in Norton. Prosecutors said he fondled the girl and forced her to perform oral sex on him from the time she was nine until she was 16.

The statute of limitations doesn't apply to Bowen's case because he left the state for decades. He went Bolivia in 1972 and worked as a missionary there at the Society of St. James mission until charges were filed in 2002 and he was returned to the United States.

Posted by kshaw at July 16, 2005 08:00 AM