MO - Once-convicted priest may be freed
- Once-convicted priest may be freed
- He also worked & lived in Callaway County
- His presence there hasn’t been disclosed before
- Self help group begs Jeff City Catholic officials to help
- And law enforcement should also do outreach, victims say
- SNAP: Those who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes must step forward
Holding signs and childhood photos at two sidewalk news conferences, clergy sex abuse victims will disclose that a former mid-Missouri predator priest
-- reportedly lived and worked in Callaway County (as well as Boone & Cooper counties), and
-- may soon get out of jail.
They will also urge
-- Callaway County law enforcement officials and the cleric’s former supervisors and colleagues at the Jefferson City Catholic diocese, and a Columbia hospital to help find other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers
And they will beg others with information or suspicions about the predator “to step forward, get help, and help protect kids” by sharing what they know with police and prosecutors in all three counties.
TIME AND PLACE:
--Wednesday, Nov. 14th at 11:30 a.m. -- Outside the Callaway County Sheriff's office, 1201 State Road O, in Fulton, MO, ( between Fulton State hospital and Diagnostic Center.)
--Wednesday Nov 14th at 1:00 p.m., outside the Jefferson City Catholic Diocese headquarters, 2207 W. Main St. (near Forest Hill Ave.), in Jefferson City, MO
Two-three child sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
Late last month, in Boonville, a judge announced that he’ll soon decide whether an imprisoned, once-convicted predator priest will be freed. And days ago, SNAP learned, for the first time, that this child molesting cleric also spent time in Callaway County.
He is Fr. Jerry Howard of the Jefferson City diocese. For more than two years, he has been jailed in Cooper County, facing charges of molesting three boys there. Within weeks, a judge will decide whether the statute of limitations on Howard’s alleged crimes has expired. If so, he will be released.
So SNAP is urging Howard’s former bosses and colleagues at the Jefferson City Catholic diocese and the Columbia’s now-shuttered Charter Hospital to “use their resources and bully pulpits” to “aggressively seek out anyone else who may have been hurt by Howard.”
As a priest, Howard worked at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Boonville. As a counselor, he worked at Charter. And in a new notarized document, which SNAP has obtained and will release today, the mother of one of Howard’s victims says that he also lived and worked in Callaway County, a fact which has not previously been known or reported.
According to sworn testimony last month by three of Howard’s victims in Cooper County, Howard molested children in several places, including at his Boonville home.
In 1983, Howard was convicted of molesting a New Jersey boy. (He got 5 years probation.) Less than a year later, however, Catholic officials let him legally change his name from Fr. Carmine Sita to Fr. Jerry Howard - and quietly sent him to Boonville, without warning parishioners or telling them of Howard’s crimes. In Boonville, Howard sexually assaulted several boys from 1983-1988, eventually being ousted from the parish. It’s not clear if he has ever been defrocked.
A photo of Howard is available at BishopAccountability.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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.