2 Say Ex-Boonville Priest Worked at Columbia Hospital

By Nate Birt
Booville Daily News
October 1, 2009

Boonville - The following is a brief of the story. For the full version, see the Thursday, Oct. 1 print edition of the BDN.

Heather Andrews of Ashland said Wednesday afternoon that ex-Boonville priest Gerald Howard counseled her while she was a patient at Charter Hospital in Columbia.

"His title at the hospital, at the time, was mental health worker," said Andrews, whose last name at the time was Mericle. She said she thinks that title was reserved for people who didn't have counseling degrees.

David Clohessy, national director of The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said Wednesday that four people — including Andrews — have approached his group stating that Howard once worked as a counselor at the Columbia hospital, which is now closed.

Former Boonville resident Mark McAllister claims that Howard sexually assaulted him repeatedly over the course of several years in the mid-1980s. The BDN documented its interview with McAllister in a series in late August.


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