Ex-priest sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for child abuse

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Grace Church in the Mountains Waynesvlle NC.jpg
Grace Church in the Mountains

Former Episcopal priest and convicted child abuser Howard “Howdy” White, Jr. has been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by a North Carolina court on 21 Oct 2019 after having pled guilty to three counts of second-degree forcible rape, eight counts of second-degree forcible sexual acts and seven counts of indecent liberties with a child.  

In 2017 White pled guilty to five counts of sexual assaults committed against students at St George’s School in Middletown, R.I. where he served as chaplain in the early 1970s. The assaults were committed during a trip with students to Massachusetts. He was not charged by Rhode Island authorities for alleged crimes committed at the Episcopal boarding school as the time permitted to charge him under the statute of limitations had passed.  White was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment by a Massachusetts court but was released after 12 months, and transferred to North Carolina to answer charges that while he was rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Waynesville from 1984 to 2006 he molested two girls.

The victims in the North Carolina assaults reported their claims to police in 2015 after the St George’s School released on a report on historic sexual abuse at the school. The report found White had been dismissed as chaplain in 1974 after the school learned of his conduct, but the headmaster failed to take further steps to prevent him from reoffending.

White, (78), was serving as a non-stipendiary priest in charge at a Central Pennsylvania parish when he was arrested. The bishop of Central Pennsylvania deposed him from the ordained ministry in 2017.