Episcopal priest living in Bedford County arraigned in Boston on charges dating to 1973

By Dave Sutor
December 13, 2016

An Episcopal priest, who currently resides in Bedford County, was arraigned in a Boston court Tuesday on five counts of assault and battery, stemming from an incident that allegedly took place in 1973.

Rev. Howard J. “Howdy” White Jr., formerly the associate chaplain at St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island, is accused of sexually assaulting a boy during two trips to Massachusetts when the juvenile was 15 or 16 years old.

The alleged victim reported the incident to school faculty and White reportedly admitted the assault to the headmaster, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. White was fired in 1974.

St. George’s, however, never notified child-protection authorities, according to an article in the Providence Journal. White then received other assignments, including at St. James Episcopal Church in Bedford.

White, now 75, voluntarily appeared at the arraignment. Prosecutors did not request bail. His trial is set for June 26, 2017.

He is not to have contact with the alleged victim or unsupervised contact with children under 18. The commonwealth's statute of limitations does not apply because White was never a resident of Massachusetts.

“Whether as a child or as an adult, disclosing sexual abuse can be the most daunting experience in a person’s life,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said in a press release. “Survivors everywhere should know that they can feel safe and supported coming to us, and that we place their well-being above all else as we investigate and prosecute the harm committed against them.”

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests issued a statement praising Massachusetts officials for the prosecution and asking anybody with information about White – from when he served in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina – to come forward.

“We applaud the brave victims and law enforcement officials who are prosecuting a child molesting Episcopalian priest who worked and lived outside of Altoona,” SNAP Director David Clohessy said in a statement. “They are reminding all of us of an important lesson – even older child sex crimes and cover-ups must be reported to police and prosecutors. And we beg church officials in four states to do aggressive outreach to find and help others who were assaulted by this cleric.”

Neither White's attorney, David Duncan, nor Rt. Rev. Audrey Cady Scanlan, bishop for the Episcopal Church's Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, immediately responded to interview requests.



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