More sex abuse charges for former Episcopal priest Howard White

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Charges of sexual abuse by White now span 1969-2004. The charges trace to his employment in several dioceses of the church raising systemic issues for the denomination.


Former Episcopal priest Howard “Howdy” White, 76, has been charged with eight more counts of child sex abuse by a grand jury in North Carolina.

The Waynesville Mountaineer reports:

According to court documents, the charges relate to two alleged victims, one who claims he was abused in 1984 and the other who claims he was abused in 2004.

Prior to his most recent indictment involving two more Haywood victims, White was facing charges of first-degree forcible sex offense, two counts of indecent liberties with a child, first-degree forcible rape, four counts second-degree forcible sex offense, and second-degree forcible rape.

White lived in Haywood County from 1984-2006, during which he acted as the rector for Waynesville’s Grace Church in the Mountains. Prior to returning to Haywood to face his pending charges here, he was being held at a county correctional facility in Boston after pleading guilty to five counts of assault and battery related to the 1973 sexual abuse of a boy.

WLOS reports:

In June 2017, White pleaded guilty to child sex charges in Massachusetts. Prosecutors said White assaulted a child during two overnight trips to Boston [in 1973] when the boy was 15 and 16.

At the time, White worked at St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island.

He pleaded guilty in 2017 to child sex charges in Massachusetts, serving a year in prison before being returned to Haywood County to face local charges.

Prosecutors argued White is a flight risk since he faces a possible life sentence, has no Haywood County ties, and has substantial financial means.

White was deposed in 2016.

The 1973 abuse occurred while White served as assistant chaplain at St. George’s School, a private, Episcopal, coeducational boarding school in Middletown, Rhode Island. White’s conduct was known to the headmaster at the time. He was asked to leave, but there is no indication the headmaster took further action to inform authorities or future employers.

In 1998 a civil suit was brought in the Supreme Court of Appeal in West Virginia against White and the Diocese of West Virginia. The plaintiff alleged he was the victim of sex abuse by White in 1969. The plaintiff further alleged the Diocese of West Virginia knew of White’s tendencies from other cases it dealt while White was a priest in the diocese. The court ruled against the victim due to the statute of limitations. It is an open question whether the Diocese of West Virginia made the Diocese of Western North Carolina aware of the case, or accepted responsibility outside of the legal system.

Past reports from the Episcopal Café here.

 

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