Former Priest from Bloomfield Faces More Charges
By Jeff Frankel
December 6, 2013
A former New Jersey priest convicted in the early 1980s of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy is facing additional charges in Missouri.
Gerry Howard, who legally changed his name from Carmine Sita after that incident, is requesting a trial in front of only a judge, according to a Nov. 25 report in connectmidmissouri.com.
He was arrested at his Broad Street apartment in Bloomfield in 2010 and extradited to Missouri, according to Missouri court records. Prosecutors in Cooper County charged Howard with eight felony counts, including sodomy and kidnapping. The accused sexual abuse happened between 1984 and 1987, according to the report.
David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Abusive Priests, told Bloomfield Life the organization is "grateful that Howard has been locked up and kept away from kids."
"Very few victims have the strength and opportunity to seek justice," said Clohessy, whose group is not directly involved with the case.
"Church officials have run out the clock. At the same time, increasingly, police and prosecutors are becoming more aggressive and creative about pursuing even older sex crimes.
"We tell every victim, witness or whistleblower to call 911 no matter how old, small or seemingly insignificant it may seem."
Howard remains in the Cooper County Jail on $1.5 million bail, according to court records.