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August 23, 2019

Brooklyn Diocese finds credible sex abuse claims against two retired priests

August 14, 2019

Church steeple (wwing/Getty Images)

Catholic church leaders on Tuesday said they’d found credible sexual abuse allegations against two retired city priests during a probe coordinated with health professionals, mental health experts and ex law enforcement officers.

A sexual misconduct claim against the Rev. Charles White, who served at a Queens church in the mid 1970s, was determined to be “credible” by the Diocese of Brooklyn’s review board, according to a church statement.

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“By `credible’ the Diocesan officials believe that the allegations may be true,” the statement said.

White, 79, was serving at American Martyrs Church in Bayside, where he was recently accused of abusing a minor between 1974 and 1978. White had earlier been cleared of a similar allegation in 1979, but the review board reopened that case and found it was also credible.

As a result, White will be placed on the list of more than 100 credibly accused priests, which the Diocese published on its website in February.

A similar credibility finding was issued for the retired Rev. Hugh Byrne, 86, over alleged abuse between 1971 and 1973 when Byrne was serving at Holy Ghost Parish in Brooklyn, which has since been renamed Holy Spirit Parish.

Byrne, who was ordained on June 2, 1962, has been removed from public ministry, as has White, officials said. That means they are not permitted to celebrate mass publicly, cannot exercise in any public ministry and cannot live in a parish residence.

The review board cleared two priests, Joseph Nolan, who is retired, and William With. Nolan, 97, served at Our Lady of Snows Catholic Church in Queens. With has been pastor at Resurrection Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn since 2004.

“Sexual abuse is a heinous, sinful crime and the Diocese of Brooklyn is committed to remaining vigilant against such abuse,” the Diocese said in a statement.

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