MO- Predator priest may plead tomorrow in Boonville

For immediate release: Monday, June 16, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790,

Predator priest may take plea tomorrow

He pled guilty to child sex crime in 1980s

Now, he's accused of molesting three more

Cleric worked 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

Tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon around 3 p.m. in a Cooper County Courtroom, a Catholic priest who lived and worked in three mid-Missouri counties will appear for a recently set hearing at which a plea deal is possible.

The accused is Fr. Gerald (“Jerry”) Howard who worked at a St. Peter & Paul Catholic church in Boonville and later in Boone County and Callaway County too.

In the 1980s, as a priest in New Jersey, Fr. Howard 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.

“If there's a deal, we hope Fr. Howard is put away for as long as possible,” said David Clohessy of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “And it's still not too late 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, Fr. Howard worked as a counselor at the now-shuttered Charter Hospital in Columbia.

The prosecutor is Doug Abele of Cooper County (, 660-882-7577). Fr. Howard is represented by attorney Jim Rutter of Columbia (573-303-3909, 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.

Fr. Howard has NOT been defrocked, so he should still be called "Fr. Howard."

A photo of Fr. Howard, and other information, is available at


At 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,, Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell,

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