A former leader of the Springfield Melha Shriners is facing child pornography charges.
Gardner Whitney, 61, faces many charges including possession of child pornography, indecent assault and battery and posing a child in the nude.
Al Zippin, a past potentate of the Shriners, released this statement Friday:
"We are saddened and deeply disappointed by the allegations facing former Melha Shriner Potentate, Gardner Whitney. Our thoughts and prayers are with the alleged victims during this difficult time.We expect our members to be professional, moral and ethical in all of their interactions with children, colleagues and community members. We will not tolerate any conduct that is inappropriate and unbecoming of a Melha Shriner. We will take corrective action and all disciplinary measures under organization by-laws whenever there is evidence of any misconduct. We encourage members of the Melha Shriners and the community to support each other through this difficult time, and look to a more positive tomorrow."
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