MO- Big predator priest trial starts soon
For immediate release: Friday, June 13, 2014
For more information: David Clohessy, 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com
Predator priest trial is soon
He was convicted before in 1980s
Now, he's accused of molesting 3 more
Cleric was in three mid-Missouri counties
After leaving his Catholic post, he was a counselor
SNAP: “He's one of the most egregious child molesting clerics”
In two weeks, the child sexual abuse trail against a former Catholic priest who lived and worked in Cooper, Boone and Callaway counties is set to begin and a support group is making a “last ditch” effort to find other victims and witnesses.
The accused is Gerald (“Jerry”) Howard who worked at a St. Peter & Paul Catholic church in Boonville. In the 1980s, he was a priest in New Jersey and was convicted of molesting a boy in the Jersey City area.
His Catholic supervisors then let Howard legally change his name – from Carmine Sita to Jerry Howard – and sent him to the Jefferson City diocese, without warning parishioners or the public, where he sexually assaulted at least four boys – three in Cooper County and one in Boone County.
“Now is the time – right now – for every single person who saw, suspected or suffered Howard's crimes to speak up,” said David Clohessy of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “If you have any knowledge of or suspicions about Howard – or other child molesting clerics – stop being a coward and call law enforcement immediately.”
After leaving Boonville, Howard worked as a counselor in Boone and in Callaway counties, including a stint at the now-shuttered Charter Hospital in Columbia.
The prosecutor is Doug Abele of Cooper County (firstname.lastname@example.org, 660-882-7577). Howard is represented by attorney Jim Rutter of Columbia (573 303 3909, email@example.com). In civil suits, Howard's victims have been represented by attorney Bryan Bacon of Columbia (573 874 7777), Ken Chackes of St. Louis (314 369 3902) and Greg Gianforcaro of New Jersey.
A photo of Fr. Howard, and other information, is available at
The judge is Robert L. Koffman.
Ata least one civil lawsuit against Howard and his Catholic supervisors has been settled.
More information on the case is available at CaseNet.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.