CARIBOU, Maine — A Fort Fairfield man who served as an Episcopalian minister in the New Sweden area for several years before he was arrested on sex charges will spend the next four years in prison.
James Morgan, 67, pleaded no contest to a charge of unlawful sexual contact on May 4 in Aroostook County Superior Court and was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but four years suspended, Aroostook County District Attorney Todd Collins said Friday. A charge of gross sexual assault was dismissed.
Morgan also will be placed on probation for 10 years after he gets out of prison and will be on the state sex offender registry for the remainder of his life.
Morgan’s female victim was under 12 years of age at the time of the crime, Collins said. She did not attend the sentencing but knew it was taking place, the prosecutor said.
The victim disclosed the abuse to a school counselor, which prompted the investigation that led to Morgan’s arrest in October 2014.
The abuse is alleged to have taken place between January 2008 and December 2012 in Presque Isle, according to the indictment.
The investigation was conducted by members of the Presque Isle Police Department with assistance from members of the Fort Fairfield Police Department.
Presque Isle Police Chief Matt Irwin said that over the course of the past few years, Morgan traveled throughout the state and Canada, where he accompanied groups of children and teens on trips related to his religious activities.
Irwin credited Officer Bill Scull for his work on the case.
Morgan has remained imprisoned at the county jail in Houlton since his arrest.
A former Navy chaplain, Morgan moved to Maine in 1997 to become pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Stockholm, during which an alliance was signed allowing Lutherans and Episcopalians to share clergy, sacraments and programs, according to Bangor Daily News archives.
He also served as pastor of Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church in New Sweden.
Heidi Shott, canon missioner for communication and advocacy for The Episcopal Diocese of Maine, said last year that Morgan last ministered at Trinity Lutheran in 2008.
She said that in January 2012, Morgan’s license to minister in Maine was revoked. Then the license that allowed him to minister nationwide was suspended in October 2012, Schott said.
Shott said she could not say why Morgan’s licenses were pulled because of the ongoing criminal case.
Collins said Friday that Morgan’s sentencing hearing was very brief, and he did not make any statements.