For immediate release: Monday, Jan. 21 2014
Trial set for predator priest
He was convicted before in 1980s
Now, he's accused of molesting again
Cleric was in three mid-Missouri counties
After leaving his Catholic post, he was a counselor
A June 26 trial date has been set for a criminal child sex abuse case against a former Catholic priest who lived and worked in Cooper, Boone and Callaway counties.
The accused is Gerald (“Jerry”) Howard who worked at a Boonville Catholic church. 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 him change his name – from Carmine Sita to Jerry Howard – and sent him to the Jefferson City diocese, where he sexually assaulted several boys.
“We hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered Howard's crimes will find the strength to speak up now,” 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 – now is the time to step forward.”
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 BishopAccountability.org.
The judge is Robert L. Koffman.
More information on the case is available at CaseNet.