A church next to the Bowdoin College campus in Brunswick has shut down a support group for convicted sex offenders, after college officials expressed concerns.

Last week, Bowdoin’s director of security, Randy Nichols, said in an email to Bowdoin’s students and staff that he had only recently learned about the group, which had been meeting every Tuesday evening for two years at the First Parish Church, on the corner of Maine Street and Bath Road.

Nichols said the presence of a group of sex offenders so close to campus was concerning, especially in light of a reported rape on campus on Nov. 10 and an attempted assault on another student last week.

After the college conveyed those concerns to the church, church leaders informed the Massachusetts-based organization that offered the support group that it could no longer use the building.

Ken Thorson, a member of the church council who is acting as a spokesman for First Parish, said Wednesday that the church was in a tough spot. However, he said, it tried to make the best decision in terminating the rental agreement with the Counseling and Psychotherapy Center, a Needham, Massachusetts, organization that operated the support group.

“The rental arrangement is part of First Parish Church’s mission to embrace being a church in and for the community,” he said. “First Parish also supports the college and the town of Brunswick in seeking a climate of personal safety for students and residents.”

Brunswick Police Cmdr. Marc Hagan said the support group was not violating any law and police had never had any complaints or problems about members meeting at the church. He also said there is no link or suspected link between the support group and the Nov. 10 rape or the Nov. 17 attempted assault. Both incidents are still under investigation, Hagan said.

Thorson said the church had never had any issues with the group’s presence, but said the church had no role in its operation.

“We were supportive of what they were doing,” he said. “We think it’s a good service.”

Scott Hood, vice president for communications and public affairs, said the college had no comment on the matter.

“The decision to provide space for this group, as well as the decision to end the arrangement were both made, independently, by First Parish Church,” he said in an email. “The Brunswick Police Department informed us about the meetings and we simply expressed our concerns to the church leadership.”

Thorson said First Parish offers its space to many other support groups as well, most of which operate with anonymity.

Officials with the Counseling and Psychotherapy Center would not comment on Wednesday. A woman who answered the phone said the person authorized to speak for the organization was not available and she refused to relay a message to him.

According to its website, the organization operates in seven states, including Maine, and provides sex offender treatment and management for both juveniles and adults.

Alison Beyea, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine said that while Bowdoin has an obligation to protect its students, getting rid of the support group is not an answer.

“Making it harder for ex-offenders to get the support they need will not fix the problem,” she said.

“In fact, pushing them out of town and further into the shadows might actually create a false sense of security while doing little to address the real problem. Instead, we should try to make it as easy as possible for ex-offenders to access rehabilitation services.”

Bowdoin College has been rattled by a pair of incidents in the last two weeks that have created safety concerns.

On Nov. 10, a female college student reported that she was raped inside her residence in the Mayflower Apartments, an off-campus complex affiliated with the school. The young woman said she did not know her assailant, who is believed to have entered the building through an unlocked door.

The most recent incident occurred Nov. 17, when a 20-year-old student walking home from campus said she was grabbed by the waist from behind around 8 p.m. as she walked alone on Potter Street. She broke free and ran away unharmed, but by the time she turned around, her attacker was gone. She was not able to provide a description.

Brunswick police have not determined whether the two incidents are connected or if the same person might have perpetrated both. They have released a sketch of the man suspected in the rape, a slender white male believed to be in his late 20s, but so far have not found the person responsible.

The two incidents took place about half a mile from each other. Campus email alerts were sent out after each of them.

In response to the incidents, students created a Facebook page to promote a “safe walk” program that connects Bowdoin students with other students who volunteer to accompany them while walking on campus at night.

The incidents occurred at a time of increased focus on sexual assaults on college campuses nationwide. Bowdoin said 15 on-campus rapes and two on college-owned property off campus were reported in 2014, although not all of those assaults occurred in 2014. Bowdoin officials would not say how many occurred last year.

Hagan said his department did not investigate any reports of sexual assaults from Bowdoin students in 2014. So far in 2015, there have been two reports: the Nov. 10 incident and on-campus rape in May. In that case, a former student, Logan Taylor, was indicted in October on a felony charge of gross sexual assault.

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