BATH — A former Bath bus driver who allegedly took illegal photos of students who rode the bus has pleaded not guilty in West Bath District Court.

Bath police summonsed 50-year-old Timothy McGowan, formerly of Bath, on May 30 and charged him with violation of privacy, a Class D misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days incarceration and a $2,000 fine. He is accused of taking “upskirt” photos of children riding his bus.

After issuing the criminal summons, Bath police said investigators believe McGowan took the illegal photos of students while driving them to and from school and special events. Bath Bus Service provides transportation for Regional School Unit 1. Images of six girls were identified by police and school staff from RSU 1 and West Bath School of elementary, middle and high school ages.

According to police, the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit searched several of McGowan’s electronic devices and found the same images as those uploaded to the website. Police were tipped off to the alleged conduct by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which found the photos on a foreign website and believed they depicted school-age children.

Bath Police Lt. Robert Savary said last week he had no further details to release. He said he doesn’t believe photos of any more students have been identified.

McGowan is being represented by Handelman & Mason of Brunswick. Attorney Jonathan Handelman entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf on June 28.

Although McGowan was scheduled for arraignment in West Bath District Court on Tuesday, because he is charged only with a misdemeanor and because his attorneys already entered a not-guilty plea, McGowan didn’t have to appear in court.

James Mason of Handelman & Mason said Monday a judge denied a motion filed by Handelman to allow a plea by authorization, which would allow McGowan’s attorneys to enter a plea if one was worked out, without McGowan needing to be present.

According to the motion, McGowan is living in Texas, has no business or social ties to Maine, and attending court for a plea “will subject Timothy to an expensive cross-country journey.”

Sagadahoc District Attorney Jonathan Liberman said his office objected to the motion as the state will be seeking jail time.

“We do want him showing up to his court dates,” Liberman said.

The court scheduled a conference for Aug. 29 at which McGowan, his counsel and the prosecutor will meet with a judge to discuss the case, the evidence and possibly a plea negotiation. If the parties can’t come to an agreement to resolve the case, it will go to trial.

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