Johnston Public Schools teacher charged with abusing autistic adult

A Johnston County Public Schools teacher had been charged with allegedly abusing an autistic adult under her care in Craven County.



Patricia Ann Howard, age 57, was arrested on Nov. 3 and was charged with five felony counts of assault on a disabled adult and two counts of communicating threats.

Howard was given a $175,000 secured bond and remains in custody at the Craven County Jail.

Per the Craven County Sheriff’s Office, information was received about possible abuse of a “severely autistic adult” on Oct. 21. The abuse was allegedly occurring at a family living facility Howard was operating in her own home.

Investigators found enough evidence of the abuse and arrested Howard, according to the Craven County Sheriff’s Office.

Howard is a teacher at North Johnston High School.

The Johnston County Public Schools district says they are aware of the charges and that she is currently suspended. The district’s Public Information Officer Richard Carr issued a brief statement:

“The school system is aware of the charges against Ms. Patricia Howard. She is currently suspended with pay while the school system takes appropriate steps to review the matter,” Ms. Howard began employment with Johnston County Public Schools on September 6, 2016, as a teacher at North Johnston High School.”

Howard has two NC teacher licenses on file with the state; one expired and one active.

The older, expired license was issued in July 2001 and expired in June 2006. That license was in the areas of Family and Consumer Sciences Education (6-12), Pre-K, and Kindergarten Add-On.

Howard’s current license was issued in 2018 and does not expire until June 2023. The license covers the areas of EC Social Studies (K-6), EC Science (K-6), EC Math (K-6), Learning Disabled K-12, and EC Language Arts.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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