CAMDEN, Del. (WBOC)- New details are emerging in a case of sexual abuse at a Kent County High School. Delaware State Police say Caesar Rodney High School wrestling coach "Dickie" Howell, who is 50-years-old, had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student at CR.
Investigators say their relationship went on for a while. According to court documents, things started back in March and continued on and off through late December. They don't say how the relationship ended.
These allegations surprised not just the Camden-Wyoming area but the state's entire wrestling community, too.
Howell has been a major player in Delaware wrestling for two decades. He's won eight state titles. He recently picked up his 300th career victory.
Polytech High School wrestling coach Eric Buckson knows Howell well. Buckson even coached under him for a year.
"He's iconic. I mean, when you look at what he was able to accomplish over the past 20 years, the record speaks for itself," Buckson said. "The actions that were taken - if they hold true - the conversation about what he's done begins to lose its value. It's basically what your actions are now is what you're accountable for now."
And this sentiment about Howell extends beyond the First State.
"He is Delaware wrestling... He's a legend... It's a black eye for that school and the sport," John Emel, a coach in New Jersey, told local media about Howell.
Court documents reveal more about the allegations causing that black eye. They say Howell had sex with the victim multiple times over the course of ten months at the high school and his Wyoming home. They also show investigators found graphic photos and videos of Howell on the girl's cell phone along with texts and voice messages about the relationship.
On Facebook and Twitter, there was shock and disbelief. Lots of people were saying what a great coach and teacher Howell was to them but adding it doesn't excuse what he's accused of doing.
"His actions have thrown that away," said Buckson. "What he's done, uh, voids anything that he's done in the past. To do the things that he's accused of, uh, you know, that's the focus."
Howell is facing 19 separate, related charges. His bond was set at $550,000. He is being held at James T Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. CR's superintendent says Howell has been suspended with pay, in accordance with district teacher's agreement.
While cases like this don't just happen in CR, Caesar Rodney has certainly had its share of teachers arrested for having sex with teens.
Back in the spring middle school English teacher Stephanie Seabury was arrested for having sex with a 13-year-old male student. In 2012 police arrested high school teacher Andrew Chrzanowski for a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student. And ten years ago CR's then-softball coach, John Shields, was arrested for having sex with a 14-year-old female student.