MO- Big predator priest trial starts soon

For immediate release: Friday, June 13, 2014

For more information: David Clohessy, 314 566 9790, [email protected] 

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 ([email protected], 660-882-7577). Howard is represented by attorney Jim Rutter of Columbia (573 303 3909, [email protected]). 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 

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected])


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