Hearing set for ex-CR teacher indicted on 50 felony counts in alleged sex abuse case

DOVER — An arraignment and case review for an ex-Caesar Rodney High teacher and coach indicted on 50 felony counts for an alleged sexual relationship with a female student is scheduled for 9 a.m. April 30 at the Kent County Courthouse.

Richard L. “Dickie” Howell II, 51, of Wyoming, was indicted April 6 by a Kent County Grand Jury on 43 counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of trust, authority, or supervision, and seven counts of sexual solicitation of a child.

Richard Howell

Richard Howell

Mr. Howell was a physical education and health education teacher and wrestling coach at the time of the alleged incidents in 2014.

Mr. Howell was suspended without pay Jan. 15, 2015, one day after Delaware State Police announced initial charges against him.

Mr. Howell submitted a letter of resignation to the district on April 9, Caesar Rodney School District spokesman Ron Gough said.

“At (Tuesday night’s) monthly meeting of the Caesar Rodney School Board, Mr. Howell’s resignation was officially approved by board members,” Mr. Gough said.

The first sexual solicitation count in the indictment charged that Mr. Howell allegedly “did intentionally or knowingly solicit, request, commands, importune, or otherwise attempt to cause … a child who has not yet reached (18 years old), to engage in a prohibited sexual act” between April 18 and 30, 2014.

The first eight sexual abuse counts charged that Mr. Howell on or about between April 25, 2014 and June 15, 2014, allegedly “did intentionally engage in sexual intercourse with … a child who has reached (her) 16th birthday” but is not yet 18.

The sexual abuse count noted that the defendant is at least 4 years older than the child and 30 or older, and standing “in a position of trust, authority, or supervision over the child or is an invitee or designee of a person who stands in a position of trust, authority, or supervision over the child.”

The second sexual solicitation charge listed in the indictment alleged that Mr. Howell on or about Nov. 21, 2014, “did use a computer, cellular telephone, or other electronic device to communicate with another person, including a child, to solicit, request, command importune, entice, encourage, or otherwise attempt to cause …, a child, to engage in a prohibited sexual act.

Other alleged sexual solicitations referenced in the indictment listed 2014 dates on or about Nov. 30, Dec. 4, Dec. 5, Dec, 6, and Dec. 21.

Deputy Attorney General Kathleen Dickerson is prosecuting the case for the state; lawyer Alexander Funk is representing Mr. Howell.

When Delaware State Police initially announced investigation into the case on Jan. 14, 2015, a news release said Mr. Howell was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child, 15 counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust, and two counts of fourth-degree rape.

Police said the student allegedly involved was 17 at the time.

The Delaware Department of Correction confirmed that Mr. Howell was at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center on Jan. 14, 2015, as a detentioner and departed the facility on Jan. 16,

The DOC said records indicated the secured bail was set at $500,000.

Kent prosecutor suspended

Responding Tuesday to questioning from the Delaware State News regarding the possible recent suspension of an undisclosed Deputy Attorney General, the Delaware Attorney General’s office released the following statement through a spokesman:

“A Deputy Attorney General in Kent County has been suspended with pay pending an ongoing investigation,” the AG’s statement read.

“As a result, some cases must be reassigned among some of the more than 200 other prosecutors within the department. The Department of Justice will not comment further because it is a pending personnel issue.”

Attorney General Matt Denn declined a media request for interview through a spokesman.

Earlier, the AG’s office said an undisclosed Sussex County prosecutor remains suspended with pay after investigation into an earlier unspecified incident. The AG’s office said an update will be provided when that status changes.

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