Editor’s note: This article is by Todd Wellington of The Caledonian-Record, in which it was first published Aug. 21, 2013.
A United States Postal Service worker has been accused of grabbing the breast of a St. Johnsbury woman while delivering her mail this spring.
Douglas H. McGown, 62, pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of engaging in a prohibited act and was released on the condition that he not contact his alleged victim, a 21-year-old woman from McGill Avenue.
McGown was a letter carrier working out of the St. Johnsbury post office when the alleged incident occurred. Post office officials said Monday that McGown retired on June 30 — one month after the alleged incident occurred — ending a 29-year career with the postal service.
According to an affidavit filed by Vermont State Police Detective Trooper Andrew Jensen, the alleged victim said the incident occurred on June 1 after she approached McGown as he delivered the mail on McGill Avenue and asked if she could get her mail early because she was waiting for a check that needed to be deposited before her bank closed.
“She said McGown told her if she wanted her mail she was going to have to help him dig through the mail in the back of his USPS mail truck,” wrote Jensen in his report.
“[She] advised she was hesitant to do this due to thinking it was a Federal crime to touch other people’s mail. She told McGown that to which she said he responded ‘There’s a lot of things we could do to get in trouble.’ [The woman] advised as McGown said that, he pulled his sunglasses down on his nose and looked down at her chest.”
She told police she then stepped away from McGown while he found her mail and handed it to her.
“She explained she told McGown ‘thank you’ and when he went to hand [her] her mail McGown got ‘really’ close to her and squeezed her right breast with his bare hand at the same time he handed her the mail,” wrote Jensen.
Police interviewed McGown at the St. Johnsbury Post Office on June 6 where McGown said he had “joked around” with a female customer the week before but couldn’t remember her name. But, according to the affidavit, McGown did remember something about the woman.
“McGown advised [she] was being flirtatious with him and was wearing a low cut top that day,” wrote Jensen. “McGown also made a gesture to me with his hands indicating [she] had large breasts by placing his hands in front of his chest with his palms facing inward.”
McGown told police it was against post office policy to give people their mail early and that he initially refused to get it for her but relented after she offered to pay him for it.
“Once he found [the woman's] mail, McGown advised he told [her], ‘Thanks for the show,’ and handed the mail to her,” wrote Jensen. “I asked him what he meant by that phrase to which he explained he was simply thanking her for wearing a shirt that exposed a good deal of her breasts.”
Police said McGown denied “squeezing” her breast but may have “touched” it as he placed his right arm around her shoulder and handed the mail to her with his left hand.
McGown told police he didn’t look at it as a big deal and that he was sorry if she did not feel the same way, according to the affidavit.
If convicted on the charge McGown faces a possible sentence of up to one year in prison and a $100 fine.