Fr. John Harris – Diocese of Portland

| Sep 20, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father John Harris

Diocese of Portland 

Ordained: 1984

Removed from ministry: 2003

Laicized: 2015

Assignment History:

  • Sacred Heart (Portland, ME)
  • Sts. Athanasius and John (Rumford, ME)
  • St. Anthony (Jackman, ME)
  • Our Lady of the Rosary (Sabattus, ME)
  • Our Lady of the Lakes (Oquossoc, ME)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Fr. John Harris:

Fr. John Harris was ordained a priest in 1984 and served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Portland. According to media reports, in 1999, he was removed from his ministry at Our Lady of the Rosary and sent to a treatment program after the Diocese discovered Fr. Harris had created and managed a website for gay clergy. The site included sexually explicit language and nudity. Following treatment, he was assigned to Our Lady of the Lakes in Rangely.

Fr. Harris was permanently removed from ministry in 2003, when a person contacted the Diocese of Portland and reported that Fr. Harris had engaged in nude boating and hot tubbing at a private summer camp in Waterford, ME during the early 1980s. The Diocese of Portland forwarded the report of Fr. Harris’s behavior to Maine Attorney General’s Office.

In 2015, the Vatican permanently removed Harris from the priesthood based on a substantiated claim of child sexual abuse in the early 1980s against Fr. Harris. According to the Diocese of Portland, the allegation was received in 2013. Information about the age/gender of his alleged victim/victims and the nature of the alleged sexual abuse was not provided by the Diocese of Portland.

In July 2021, the state removed a 34-year statute of limitations for civil claims of childhood sexual abuse. As a result, another victim filed a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, claiming that he was sexually abused by a lay teacher and two priests, John E. Harris and John L. Shorty. The abuse was said to have taken place when he was living in Westbrook in the early to mid-1980s when he was a young teen. The victim claims he suffered severe and debilitating emotional injury, pain and suffering, physical and emotional trauma, and permanent psychological damage as a result of the sexual abuse by Fr. Harris and Fr. Shorty.

The current whereabouts of Fr. John Harris are unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Portland in Maine. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Maine, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Portland now have legal options, but filing deadlines may apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Maine and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.