Westchester County pastor accused of decades-old sex abuse of a child

MAMARONECK, Westchester County (WABC) -- The pastor at a Westchester County church is on administrative leave after sex abuse allegations from decades ago surfaced last week.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan sent a letter to parishioners at St. Vito - Most Holy Trinity parish in Mamaroneck to inform them of the accusations against Monsignor James White.

The alleged abuse was revealed under New York's Child Victim's Act, which went into effect on August 14 and lifted for one year the statute of limitations on civil cases for child victims.

White was placed on administrative leave, and his ministry was restricted.

Dolan said the case will be investigated and then reviewed after the civil litigation has concluded to determine if the allegations are substantiated, and further action will then be taken.

"This leave is not a punishment, and no judgment has been made about the accusation," Dolan wrote. "Monsignor White continues to have the presumption of innocence."

Monsignor Donald Dwyer, pastor of Resurrection Parish in Rye, will serve the St. Vito community in White's absence.

Parishioners told Eyewitness News that White, who has been leading the congregation for a decade, is both popular and respected.

But one former parishioner who said White baptized her children believes he needs to go to jail if the allegations are true.

"It's a little disturbing, I should say a lot disturbing," Star Cilento said. "After experiencing having a daughter battling cancer, to read about this, you know, coming from Queens, and you feel like you are in a safe area...There are allegations that come up, but there has to be a reason. Nobody would make up such a thing. Nobody."

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