A pastor at a Catholic church in Westchester has been temporarily removed from the ministry after being accused of sexually abusing a child decades ago.
Monsignor James White has been placed on administrative leave at St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity Church in Mamaroneck, Cardinal Timothy Dolan announced. White will be “temporarily restricted,” from the ministry, Dolan wrote in a letter to members of the church.
“Monsignor White has been placed on administrative leave and his ministry has been temporarily restricted,” he said. “This leave is not a punishment, and no judgment has been made about the accusation; Monsignor White continues to have the presumption of innocence."
Following his removal, White stated that he was “profoundly shocked, disturbed, and saddened by the news.” The accusation reportedly dates back to the 1980s when White was the dean of discipline at the all-boys Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx.
Dolan said that the allegation against White has been shared with the District Attorney, and it will be investigated and reviewed by the Lay Review Board once civil litigation runs its course. At that point, the Board will determine if the allegation was substantiated, which will determine whether or not White is permitted to return to the ministry.
While White is on leave, Monsignor Donald Dwyer, the pastor of Resurrection Parish in Rye, will serve as the administrator at St. Vito-Most Holy Trinity.
“Please know that it is our desire to resolve these cases as expeditiously as possible,” the Cardinal said. “However, because civil litigation is involved, that resolution may take some time.”
Last week, retired federal judge and prosecutor Barbara Jones announced the results of a yearlong investigation into the clergy sex abuse scandal.
Jones said that there are no longer any active priests that are linked to any sexual abuse claims, and the diocese now has stricter protocols in place in case someone makes an allegation.
“I have found that the Archdiocese has complied with the Charter in all material respects,” she said. “It has faithfully followed its policies and procedures and responded appropriately to abuse complaints, and is committed to supporting victims-survivors of abuse.”
The Archdiocese has paid out more than $60 million from its victims' fund following nearly 300 reports of abuse in New York.
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