Sentencing set for former coach, teacher Howell

DOVER — A former Caesar Rodney High teacher and wrestling coach will be sentenced on Thursday on six felony charges connected to a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student in 2014.

Richard L. “Dickie” Howell Jr. has been held by the Delaware Department of Correction since a guilty plea in Kent County Superior Court on Feb. 26; his bond was immediately revoked by Judge Jeffrey Clark.

Howell, Dickie by .

Richard L. Howell Jr.

According to the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, Howell faces at least six years in prison for the offenses and could receive a maximum 120 years. He will receive credit for time already served.

Howell, 52, of Wyoming, pleaded  guilty to three counts each of first-degree sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust and fourth-degree rape in a session that lasted less than 10 minutes last winter.

He first withdrew a not-guilty plea at the appearance.

Following the plea, Judge Clark ordered Howell to be registered as a Tier III sex offender banned from contact with children younger than 18 years old.

He also was ordered to pay costs associated with the case.

A pre-sentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing on April 26 was postponed. Four earlier scheduled trial dates were continued before the plea was entered.

The official date of the offense was listed as March 1, 2014, in court papers; after investigation, the Delaware State Police said it believed the relationship ended in late December 2014.

Howell was arrested on Jan. 14, 2015, and indicted by a Kent County grand jury on April 6, 2015. He resigned his position with the Caesar Rodney School District upon indictment.

The Attorney General’s office declined to further prosecute 44 other charges.

Attorney Alex Funk is representing Howell, while Deputy Attorney General Kathleen Dickerson prosecuted the case for the state.

Both declined comment after the plea.

At the time Howell’s arrest was the third in 10 months involving a Kent County teacher charged with teacher-student sexual misconduct.

In December 2014, a former Caesar Rodney School District teacher received 18 months’ probation after pleading guilty to a fourth-degree rape charge involving a male student.

On Feb. 25, 2015, an ex-Smyrna School District teacher was sentenced to 10 years in prison, suspended after six months, for a fourth-degree rape charge regarding a male student.

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