Last month, Rev. Dr. Howard White, a retired priest, was suspended from his Pennsylvania church ministry by a Pennsylvania bishop. White is being investigated in the decades-old sex abuse scandal at St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island.
White has been serving as a long-term supply priest at St. James Episcopal Church in Bedford, Pennsylvania. Upon learning that White may be involved in the widespread sexual abuse of middle school students in the 1970s and 1980, the Pennsylvania bishop immediately removed him.
Background of the St. George School Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal
In December 2015, the school issued an investigative report which found credible reports that three former school employees engaged in sexual misconduct with 23 students. The report also said that three students were victimized by fellow students.
In response to this report, 3 alumnae released a document at a Boston press conference in January 2016, accusing the school of knowing about the sex abuse and covering it up for decades. They also accused the school of failing to report known or suspected perpetrators to the authorities. The document identified several former employees, including White.
The document provided details that a former student accused White of sexually abusing him and that White was terminated in 1974 after admitting to sexual misconduct with three male students.
In addition to naming the perpetrators, the document also named former and current school administrators and accused them of failing to report known or suspected abuse to state child protective services as required by law. A letter from a former headmaster to White discussing his departure from the school, which was produced by the victims, seems to support this claim. One part of the letter says,
I do hope that all goes well in the future. Quite obviously, as I have said before, I feel strongly that you should not be in a boarding school and that you should seek psychiatric help. Please do not return to St. George’s until one generation has gone through, that is, not for another five years … I wish you well, and I am sorry that you had to leave.
Clergy Sex Abuse in PA and NJ
Assuming the accusations against White are true, the former headmaster’s letter demonstrates the unique problem of sex abuse in religious and educational institutions—known or suspected pedophiles are often protected or shielded from law enforcement. This type of behavior is also seen with members of the clergy in recent PA priest sex scandals. See Priest & Church Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in NJ or PA – Pattern of Wrongdoing & Misrepresentation.
For more news and info, visit the Sex Abuse Law News Page where you can access recent news relating to sex abuse lawsuits in Pennsylvania.
About Brian Kent, a PA & NJ Victims of Sex Abuse Lawyer
Mr. Kent was an assistant district attorney prosecuting sex crimes in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He now helps victims of sex abuse in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Mr. Kent is licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and he also represents victims of sex abuse in other states, such as New York and Delaware, on a case by case basis.
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Source: www.providencejournal.com (Pennsylvania bishop suspends former assistant chaplain at St. George’s School)