A Californian Catholic priest has been suspended after allegedly sending sexually explicit text messages to the pool boy, who is now suing him.
Attorney Vince Finaldi told local TV station FOX40 that his client, a parishioner with the Church of the Presentation in Stockton, California, claims McGovern sent him sexually explicit pictures.
Finaldi alleged his client, who is married, in his 40s and has worked as a pool maintenance and landscape contractor for the church for several years, was sent a photo of McGovern’s penis last month.
“It’s extremely disturbing that the person who is head of this parish would be sending texts with photographs of his exposed genitals,” Finaldi said.
“Someone who’s engaging in that type of conduct has very, very serious credibility issues and issues with judgement.”
Finaldi told FOX40 and CBS News that his client confronted the priest about the unsolicited photo and the obvious conflict with his celibacy vow. According to the victim, McGovern replied, “Oh, that just means that you’re not married.”
The lawsuit also alleges McGovern would lounge around wearing speedos while the pool cleaner worked, making him “very uncomfortable.”
Finaldi added the parishioner was fired from his job at the church days before they filed their lawsuit. CBS reported Stockton police investigated and referred the case to the San Joaquin District Attorney’s office. McGovern did not comment on the allegations to either news outlet.
In a statement, The Diocese of Stockton said McGovern had been placed on “administrative leave pending a full and complete investigation.”