PA priest under investigation for child abuse

A former school chaplain is under investigation by police for abusing students at St George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island

The Bishop of Central Pennsylvania has suspended one of her clergy after the BIshop of Rhode Island informed her that a former school chaplain now serving in her diocese was the subject of a police investigation for child abuse. On 6 January 2016 the Rt. Rev. Audrey Scanlon wrote to her clergy stating “a member of our Central Pennsylvania clergy, the Rev. Dr. Howard White, is among the subjects of an investigation into widespread allegations of sexual abuse during the 1970s and 1980s at St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island. The Rev. Dr. Howard White served at the school during this time and is now a retired priest who currently serves as a long-term supply priest at St. James Episcopal Church, Bedford.” Last month the school released a report finding that six former members of staff had abused students at the school. Attorneys for the victims named Dr. White as one of the perpetrators and released a copy of a letter from the former headmaster to White showing the priest had been dismissed in 1974 for abusing young boys. The Bishop of Rhode Island, the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely, who serves as an ex officio member of the school’s board, notified Bishop Scanlon of the allegations against White, prompting his suspension. ”I have moved to immediately restrict Fr. White’s ministry and to provide for the pastoral care of the congregation that he currently serves. I have no information that leads me to believe that there have been any incidents of abuse at St. James, Bedford, but it is imperative that we employ all the safeguards that are available to us while the investigation of the Rhode Island State Police continues and while the formal ecclesiastical discipline process involving Fr. White unfolds,” she said.

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