The Rev. Carmen Sita (left) changed his name to Gerald Howard (right). Photo Credit: Archdiocese of Newark / Missouri Department of Corrections

Repetitive Pedophile Priest Formerly of Jersey City Church Dies

Burlington Daily Voice [Burlington NJ]

January 6, 2022

By Jerry DeMarco

[Photo above: The Rev. Carmen Sita (left) changed his name to Gerald Howard (right). Photo Credit: Archdiocese of Newark / Missouri Department of Corrections]

A twice-convicted pedophile priest who’d been an associate pastor at a Jersey City church reportedly has died.

The death of the Rev. Carmen Sita — who changed his name to Gerald Howard after getting probation for his first conviction — was announced by SNAP, a survivors network that provides support for sex abuse victims.

Sita had been at St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church on West Side Avenue for six years when he was arrested in 1982 on charges of repeatedly sexually abusing a 17-year-old boy and giving him pot.

After pleading guilty the following year, Sita was sentenced to five months probation and sent by the Newark Archdiocese to a facility in New Mexico for treatment before being transferred to a parish in Missouri. He changed his name to Gerald Howard along the way.

In 2009, a man who said he’d been abused by Howard reportedly settled a lawsuit with the Archdiocese of Newark, the Diocese of Jefferson City and the operators of the treatment facility for $600,000 in cash.

A year later, Howard was arrested on charges of forcing two boys — two of them 14 years old and one 15 — into sex in Missouri.

Howard pleaded guilty to two counts of forcible sodomy and one of attempted forcible sodomy in 2014. He was sentenced to concurrent 12-year sentences. 

That same year, the Archdiocese of Newark also reportedly paid $650,000 to settle molestation claims brought by five men who said they were abused by Howard in the St. Al’s rectory.

Howard, who was permanently removed from ministry, was due to be released from prison this May, according to Missouri Department of Corrections records.

He died on Sept. 19, 2021, SNAP reported, citing an email from the Missouri Department of Corrections Constituent Services.

SNAP said it was “extremely grateful to the victims who bravely reported this serial perpetrator and helped put him behind bars….We hope that his victims can now breathe easier knowing that he will never again be in a position to hurt children.”