St. Johnsbury postal worker denies groping woman on route

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.

Comments

  1. Deborah Wright :

    and no one has said how much in postal employee retirement benefits he will continue to receive whether he goes to jail or not for this incident.

    • Doug Spaulding :

      Are you implying that after a very dedicated and successful 29 year career with the USPS that this “grope” should cost him his retirement benefits? Get real.

      • Deborah Wright :

        do you believe that after 29 years of what we understand to be “dedicated” service, it is acceptable to violate all standards of federal compliance in areas of public trust and sexual condict guidelines to “cop a feel” and get away with with it, retirement-benefit free on the taxpayer dime? and I say “dedicated” to express the X factor of his 29 years with the US Postal Service. as a business owner, if that occurred on one of my jobs, zero benefits AND police intervention IMMEDIATELY no matter how long they had been on the job.

        • Doug Spaulding :

          Ms Wright – to parts of your comments yes, I do believe. But I also believe you are very confused and certainly mistaken about the loss of ones benefits regarding both those of the alleged “coper” or “groper” as well as any accrued personal investments either an employee of yours may have contributed to as well as any contributions that you, as the employer, might have, over the years, made on their behalf, with what the VT Legislature enacted after the public became aware of exactly what benefits that crooked, shamed, and disgraced VT State Police Officer will continue to receive even after pleading guilty and being sent to the slammer.
          Does your business provide employees with a retirement benefit like a 401K type plan and, if so, do you contribute, annually, a guaranteed percentage to what they have saved? If so and they commit a crime such as a “grope” what would you suggest be done with their investment? Should this money all roll back to the employer?

  2. Frank Cironelli :

    Taxpayer dime? post office is Not tax payer funded learn the facts

  3. Pat McGarry :

    If you own a business and provide retirement benefits such as a pension or 401K match, you can’t take away benefits which have been earned simply because an employee is alleged to have committed a misdemeanor.

    • Doug Spaulding :

      Ms Wright would have said benefits gleeped from the employee. That being the case it might then be her facing jail time!

  4. Pat McGarry :

    An aside- one should consider the law in other states. In California, the alleged conduct would constitute the crime of sexual battery- a “wobbler” which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, at the prosecutor’s sole discretion.

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