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HARRISBURG, PA: Bishop Scanlan Deposes Priest Named in New England Prep School Sex Abuse Case

HARRISBURG, PA: Bishop Scanlan Deposes Priest Named in New England Prep School Sex Abuse Case

Author: Diocesan staff
October 11, 2016

Bishop Audrey Scanlan of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania yesterday removed the Rev. Howard White from the priesthood.

White, 75, was among several adults who sexually abused students at St. George's School in Middleton, Rhode Island in the 1970s and 80s, according to a report released recently by independent investigators on behalf of the school.

In the wake of media reports about sexual abuse at St. George's, several people from other Episcopal dioceses in which White had worked said that he sexually abused them when they were young.

"We are committed to keeping God's children safe, and we are heartbroken when we fail," Scanlan said. "My hope is that the appalling events documented at St. George's School will lead our church to intensify its efforts to protect young people in every setting, and continue our commitment to preventing abuse with thorough training for clergy, staff and volunteers who work with children."

White accepted the notice that he is no longer a priest, which the church refers to as a "deposition," but did not admit guilt. Scanlan had placed him on leave in January when the allegations first surfaced, and prohibited him from functioning as a priest or being alone with minors. White retired in 2006, but was serving as a supply, or "Sunday only," priest on weekends at St. James Episcopal Church in Bedford.

Scanlan met Monday evening with members of the parish to inform them of her decision and to offer pastoral care to the parish. "I assured them that my staff and I would accompany them in this difficult time," she said.

No allegations of abuse have been lodged against White during his time in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, but as a priest in that diocese, he has been under Scanlan's authority since she became bishop in September 2015.


Diocese of Western North Carolina

February 6, 2016

Letter from the Bishop regarding the Rev. Howard White

From The Rt. Rev. G. Porter Taylor

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Just a few weeks ago I wrote to let you know that Howard White, the rector at Grace Church in the Mountains (Waynesville) from 1984 to 2006, had been identified by former students of St. George's School in Rhode Island as having engaged in sexual misconduct in the early 1970s while he served on the staff at that school. I am writing again to share more difficult news with you. Earlier this week I received an email message from a person informing me that she had been sexually abused by the Rev. White many years ago during his tenure as rector at Grace in the Mountains and while she was a minor. I received that with many emotions and with a renewed commitment for our Diocese to do all it can to aid in the investigation, to console any who are abused or hurt, to respect our ecclesiastical disciplinary process while pushing for a speedy resolution, and to pray to the Lord that justice be done and that the Holy Spirit console all those who are harmed as well as give us all hope for a renewed world.

The Rev. White is, of course, entitled to a presumption of innocence in the eyes of the law. However, as your Bishop and pastor I know we need to face this challenge and do the right thing. To this end, I shared with the person that reached out to me our sorrow and sympathy for any wrongdoing she has suffered. In addition, I offered her assistance in coping with this difficult situation, including aid for counseling services. We also notified the district attorney's office and police. In deference to their responsibilities and any possible criminal prosecutions, we will share all that we can and will assist their investigators. Finally, Canon Jim Pritchett provided this information to the Intake Officer (who receives and acts upon disciplinary complaints about priests) of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. The Rev. White is resident in that diocese. At this time he has been suspended from exercising any priestly duties.

It is important that we have a full understanding of any misconduct that may have occurred to others so that we can do our best to support them. Therefore, I ask anyone who experienced, or is aware of, any sexual misconduct by the Rev. White while he was a resident in our diocese to please let us know. You may contact Canon Pritchett at (828) 450-7500 or jimpritchett1@icloud.com.

I ask that you join with me in confronting this difficult issue. I ask that you pray. Pray for the person who reached out to me. Pray for the former students of St. George's school. Pray for the Rev. White. Pray that we know the truth and respond appropriately. Pray that God's will be done.

In Christ,

+G. Porter Taylor
Bishop, Diocese of Western North Carolina

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