Ex-CR teacher’s trial on sexual abuse charges postponed again

DOVER — A fourth trial date is now scheduled for an former Caesar Rodney High teacher and coach accused of having a sexual relationship with a student in 2014.

In Kent County Superior Court Tuesday morning, prosecution and defense lawyers mutually requested a continuance in the case of Richard L. Howell II.

Mr. Howell had earlier pleaded not guilty to 50 felony counts against him, including sexual abuse of a child by a

Richard L. "Dickie" Howell

Richard L. “Dickie” Howell

person in a position of trust, authority or supervision and sexual solicitation of a child.

Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. granted the request. A court appearance was scheduled for Feb. 24, followed by a Final Case Review on March 2 and trial on March 8.

Previous trial dates scheduled for Sept. 9, 2015, Nov. 2, 2015, and Tuesday were postponed. Last week at a scheduled Final Case Review, the case was placed on a control status and the trial date was postponed pending Tuesday’s appearance.

Deputy Attorney General Kathy Dickerson is prosecuting for the state, with lawyer Alex Funk representing Mr. Howell.

According to the Delaware State Police at the time of his arrest, preliminary investigation found that Mr. Howell, 51, of Wyoming, allegedly was involved sexually with a 17-year-old female Caesar Rodney High student from as early as March 2014 until late December 2014.

After indictment on April 6, 2015, the Caesar Rodney School Board accepted Mr. Howell’s resignation.

At the time, Mr. Howell’s arrest on Jan. 14, 2015, was the third of a Kent County public school teacher regarding sexual misconduct allegations involving students in 10 months.

Former Smyrna High teacher and coach Jennifer J. Suarez turned herself in to the Smyrna Police Department on April 25, 2014, and was sentenced 10 years in prison, suspended after six months on Feb. 25, 2015, after pleading guilty to a fourth-degree rape charge involving a male student.

In December 2014, former Caesar Rodney School District teacher Stephanie L. Seabury was sentenced to 18 months probation after pleading to a fourth-degree rape charge regarding a male student at Fred Fifer III Middle School.

Ms. Seabury turned herself in to the Dover Police Department on April 28, 2014.

Both Ms. Suarez and Ms. Seabury were required to register as Tier 2 sex offenders.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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