DIXON - One catholic priest is no longer with his parish after the church he worked for announced he and his computer are being investigated by police. Parishioners, however, are left to their own devices to determind why exactly the priest is no where to be found.
A letter to parishioners
of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in
The author of the letter from the Diocese of Rockford, Msgr. Eric Barr, writes that Fr. Gow had been removed by the Diocese because police are currently investigating conduct of the priest, "relative to his computer use." The letter adds that Gow is receiving treatment for this supposed issue that's, "affecting his priesthood."
The letter is suggestive of child pornography says Barbara Dorris, outreach coordinator of the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.
"We're left to guess," said Dorris. "But the guess would be, since adult porn is not illegal, that is would lead you to believe it's child porn, or is he selling ivory tusks from the rectory? We don't know."
Dorris says this sort of vague communication in regard to potential crimes committed by priests is what's plaguing the Catholic Church.
"Why didn't they immediately inform parishioners so that parents could talk to their children and say, 'Have you been hurt?'" questions Dorris.
"You need to get to the truth of these matters and you do that by encouraging people to tell what they know."
The Diocese maintains that there are no allegations of abuse against Fr. Gow and no charges have been filed against him. They say his removal is precautionary.
"How do we know there's no abuse if you've kept it secret all this time?"
"If he is in possession of child porn, he did harm a child and again we're guessing because they haven't told us why the police are investigating him,'" commented Dorris.
The Diocese's letter mentions that Fr. Gow will not be returning to the St. Patrick Parish.