Priest harasses accuser of mayor

Priest harasses accuser of mayor

This is a weird one. A retired Catholic priest in Maine has been ordered by Bishop Richard Malone of Portland to stop sending harassing letters to a young woman who accused the mayor of sexually harassing her.

The 19-year-old woman had lost a lawsuit against the mayor of Auburn, Maine, at which time Father Bertrand Poussard began sending the letters to the young woman. When the woman complained, the police told the priest he could face a misdemeanor charge of harassment if he didn’t stop. Meanwhile, Malone issued an apology to the woman and temporarily barred Poussard from public ministry. Poussard who is 64 evidently took early retirement due to medical issues.

“This is not behavior that is acceptable by any priest or any Christian,” Malone said. “The messages were hurtful and I am so sorry for any harm caused. This was obviously the work of a troubled soul and so it is important to act in a Christian manner with Father Poussard as well.”

The woman used to work for the mayor and said he groped her while she was working. The mayor has resigned, citing health reasons from the stress of the trial, despite his legal victory.

Interesting questions remain. Does Poussard know the mayor personally? What is his involvement? Why did he write the letters? Was there some kind of incident in his past that prompted him to identify in some way with the mayor? Or is his side of the story being fairly represented by the media, the bishop, and the police? These are the sorts of questions that come in a story that isn’t fully reported.

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  • Keep in mind that it wasn’t the priest who had been accused of harassment, but the mayor. For some reason the priest got involved. The bishop got involved because the woman’s family complained to the bishop about being harassed by the priest.

  • Poussard was a childhood friend of Mr. Guay, the accountant/mayor.  The priest apparently sent vulgar anonymous letters to Miss Ramon, and when police traced them to him, he admitted sending them. 

    As it happens, Poussard was put on medical leave in 2000, four years short of normal retirement age.  According to Ramon, the bishop told her the priest has “a tendency to act on impulse”, a phrase that suggests some sort of mental illness may be involved.