WEST BATH — A former Bath bus driver accused of posting inappropriate photos of students online has a warrant out for his arrest after he failed to show up for court Tuesday.

Timothy McGowan, 51, was charged in May 2018 with misdemeanor violation of privacy for allegedly taking “upskirt” photos of students on his bus. In addition, a Sagadahoc County grand jury indicted him in December on one count of possession of sexually explicit materials, a felony. Violation of privacy is punishable by up to 364 days incarceration and a $2,000 fine. Possession of sexually explicit materials is punishable by up to five years incarceration and a $5,000 fine.

According to court documents, McGowan failed to appear for a docket call at West Bath District Court on Tuesday. Such proceedings allow the judge to determine how many cases are ready to be heard, cases that need further negotiations and cases that have been continued or dismissed.

The court issued an arrest warrant for McGowan that lists his address as Lindale, Texas. The warrant authorizes any law enforcement officer to arrest McGowan and bring him before West Bath District Court. It set bail at $1,500.

“I think what it really came down to is a funding issue and getting back,” Joshua Klein-Golden, McGowan’s attorney, said Thursday. “He’s still trying to come back and take care of this.”

Once McGowan comes back to Maine, “we will set a new court date,” Klein-Golden said.

Investigators allege that McGowan took the photos while transporting students to and from school and special events. Bath Bus Service provides transportation for Regional School Unit 1. Images of six female students of elementary, middle and high school ages were discovered on a website by police and school staff from RSU 1 and West Bath School. Police said all the images were removed from the website.

The Sagadahoc County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday that authorities in the area where McGowan was of last known to be living will be notified of the warrant. If he’s apprehended, the DA’s office said it will to try to extradite him from Texas to Maine.

According to the December 2018 indictment, the possession of sexually explicit materials charge stems from an image or material McGowan that depicted someone under 12 years old engaged in sexually explicit conduct. It was not clear from court documents whether the underage individual or individuals in the images were from the Bath area.

Maine State Police were initially tipped off by Homeland Security, which claimed that a Maine bus driver was uploading photos of students to a foreign website. Following a weeklong investigation by the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit and Bath Police Department, investigators narrowed down possible suspects to a bus driver from the Bath area, which ultimately led them to McGowan.

McGowan was charged with violation of privacy and interviewed by police, while some of his electronic devices were searched by the state police Computer Crimes Unit. Images on those devices were matched with images on the website, according to court records.

Because a violation of privacy is only a misdemeanor, McGowan was not arrested at that time. He was put on leave by Bath Bus Service, and according to court documents he now resides in Texas.

McGowan pleaded not guilty to the charges in June 2018.

In July 2018, James Mason of Handelman & Mason, the law firm representing McGowan at the time, was denied a motion to allow a plea by authorization. That would have allowed his attorneys to enter a plea, if one was worked out, without McGowan needing to be present. According to the motion, McGowan was 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.”

Former Sagadahoc District Attorney Jonathan Liberman said at that time that his office objected to the motion because the state would be seeking jail time.

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