Questions linger about church’s knowledge of abuse

The Mountaineer

Oct. 27, 2019

By Kyle Perrotti

Former Episcopal priest Howard White has finally been brought to justice for sexual abuse crimes he admitted to committing in Haywood, but with civil litigation still pending, the story isn’t yet over.

Last week in Haywood County Superior Court, White, 78, pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of three youths in the mid-1980s and one more in 2004 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The emotional hearing featured not only District Attorney Ashley Welch reading the facts of the cases into record, but also one victim’s powerful statement. Between the two, the details that emerged — details which White agreed were factual — confirmed just how monstrous the crimes committed by the once-respected former rector of Grace Church in the Mountains really were.

The four victims present seemed to agree that seeing White plead guilty while not having to take the stand was worth the relatively short sentence he received. But facts that emerged during that hearing raised new questions about how much the church may or may not have known. The victim who offered a statement, Meg Yarbrough, mentioned specifically the role hig

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.