Mamaroneck priest placed on leave at St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity Church
By Matt Spillane
Rockland/Westchester Journal News
October 7, 2019
|Monsignor James White, pastor of St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity Church in Mamaroneck, is seen in a file photo. |
|St. Vito Church in Mamaroneck.|
The pastor of a Catholic church in Mamaroneck has been accused of abusing a child decades ago.
Monsignor James White has been placed on administrative leave at St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity Church because of the accusation, which he denied in a letter to parishioners last week.
"I was profoundly shocked, disturbed and saddened by this news," he wrote in a letter on Oct. 2.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan sent a letter to parishioners on Oct. 3 about White's ministry being "temporarily restricted."
White said in his letter that he was informed on Sept. 26 of "an allegation of inappropriate conduct with a minor." He said it dates back to the 1980s, when he was the dean of discipline at Cardinal Hayes High School, an all-boys school in the Bronx.
"I can assure you that I have never been inappropriate with a minor at any time during my almost 37 years as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York," he said, "and I ask you to believe in my innocence."
White said he trusts that his name will be cleared.
Dolan said in his letter that the accusation is being investigated by prosecutors as well as the Archdiocese's Lay Review Board, which helps determine whether an accused priest can return to ministry.
"This leave is not a punishment, and no judgment has been made about the accusation," Dolan said. "Monsignor White continues to have the presumption of innocence."
Monsignor Donald Dwyer, pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Rye, will oversee St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity in the meantime, Dolan said.
Last week, Dolan released the results of an independent investigation into the Archdiocese's handling of sex abuse claims. Barbara Jones, a former federal judge and prosecutor who put together the report, said the Archdiocese had not had any credible claims against its priests since the early 2000s.
Lawyers have countered, though, that many victims of clergy sex abuse do not report the abuse until they are well into adulthood, so more claims could be coming.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed throughout New York since the state's new Child Victims Act went into effect in August. That opened a one-year window for New Yorkers to file lawsuits over sexual abuse, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.