A former Bath school bus driver will serve 364 days in jail for secretly taking “upskirt” photos of elementary, middle and high school students who were passengers on his bus.

Timothy McGowan, 52, pleaded guilty in West Bath District Court and on Tuesday was sentenced by District Judge Daniel Billings on one count each of invasion of privacy, a misdemeanor, and possession of sexually explicit material of a child under the age of 12, a felony.

Timothy McGowan

As part of the plea agreement, McGowan will serve just shy of a year for the invasion of privacy charge, the maximum length of incarceration for that crime, at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.

Billings also handed down a suspended three-year sentence for the felony charge, meaning that if McGowan violates his probation following his release, a judge could sentence him to all or some of the remaining three years. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life.

McGowan, who is originally from Texas, was employed by Bath Bus Service, which is hired by Regional School Unit 1 to ferry children to and from school and special events. Bath police have said they believe he took the photos of students while taking them to and from school and events.

McGowan was was originally issued a summons in June 2018 after Maine State Police and Bath Police found that McGowan was posting pictures of the students on a Russian image-hosting website.

He was indicted in December 2018 on the felony charge after police searched his computer and found at least one sexually explicit image depicting a child under the age of 12, which did not involve local children.

But in the intervening months, McGowan moved back to Smith County, Texas. After he failed to appear at a scheduled court date in June 2019, a warrant was issued for his arrest and authorities in Texas arrested him in July. He returned to Maine late last month.

Sagadahoc Assistant District Attorney A.J. Chalifour, who prosecuted the case, said McGowan has roughly 11 months left to serve of his sentence.

Police previously had said that the images of Maine children that were uploaded online have been removed from the website that hosted them.

At the time McGowan was hired, Bath Bus Service conducted all of the required background checks, and he had no prior criminal convictions, police said.

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