Bp. Scanlan Deposes Priest

Adapted from a release by the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

The Rt. Rev. Audrey Scanlan of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania deposed the Rev. Howard White on Oct. 11.

Several adults sexually abused students at St. George’s School in Middleton, Rhode Island, in the 1970s and ’80s, says a 390-page report [PDF] released in September by investigators on behalf of the school. The report mentions White, 75, repeatedly.

Amid media reports about sexual abuse at St. George’s, several people in other dioceses accused White of sexually abusing 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 but did not agree with the charges. 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 priest on weekends at St. James Church in Bedford.

Scanlan met in the evening of Oct. 11 with parishioners to inform them of her decision and to offer pastoral care. “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. He as a priest in that diocese, he has been under Scanlan’s authority since she became bishop in September 2015.

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