White Salmon Police Investigate Accusations of Sexual Misconduct against Priest

White Salmon
January 2, 2008

Law enforcement officials have reported that a visiting Jesuit priest on assignment to St. Joseph Catholic Church in White Salmon is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct.

The visiting priest was Carlton Whitten, 76, of Los Gatos, Calif. Whitten was in White Salmon to temporarily take the place of St. Joseph Catholic Church's usual priest -- the Rev. Felix Rodriguez -- who was on sabbatical.

The investigation was related to alleged adult pornography on a parish computer, and the alleged inappropriate touching of a 17-year-old boy.

According to the Rev. Robert Siler, chief of staff for the Catholic Diocese of Yakima, the allegations against the visiting priest came to light when the boy disclosed to Rodriguez that the visiting priest had allegedly touched him in an inappropriate way.

Rodriguez consulted with the Diocese, and then contacted police, who launched an investigation.

Bingen-White Salmon Police Chief Bruce Brending said the Catholic Diocese of Yakima passed on information about the priest to local authorities.

The Diocese issued a toll-free telephone number to ask anyone else who may have been a victim of improper contact or other abuse to come forward. The reporting hotline number is: 1-888-276-4490.

"This is a confidential hotline for anyone to report allegations of sexual abuse by the Catholic Clergy or any other staffers or volunteers for the Catholic Church," Siler explained.

Brending asked for any individuals who may have information about the allegations to contact his office at 493-1177.

Whitten came to White Salmon in November, and had been scheduled to serve at St. Joseph's until Jan. 1. When the allegations surfaced, Whitten was suspended from his church duties and left White Salmon.


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