A Call for Witnesses: Survivors of Howard Wines aka Deputy Howie
Howard Wines is a prolific child molester and former children’s television show host who exploited his position as a Sunday School teacher to perpetuate sexual abuse against his victims, some of whom may have been as young as 6 years old. He may be known under alternate names including Howard Hunter Wines, Howard H. Wines, Howie Wines, Deputy Howie and Engineer Howie. He was formerly a deputy in the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in Kern County, California. Wines was arrested in 1985 and charged with 26 counts of felony molestation and sentenced to 14 years in prison.
PCVA is representing survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by Wines, and we are seeking witnesses who may have more information that can assist us in our investigation. We also believe there are many other victims of Wines who have yet to come forward and deserve justice for the terrible abuse they endured. If you or someone you know has any information, please contact us.
This article provides frequently asked questions about Wines, sexual abuse and how PCVA’s experienced sexual abuse lawyers can help.
Who is Howard Wines?
Born October 18, 1930, Howard Wines was a former Kern County Sherriff’s deputy who hosted a children’s television shows called “Deputy Howie” and “Engineer Howie” in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He also was a Sunday School teacher at First Presbyterian Church in Bakersfield, California in the 1970s and 1980s.
How did Howard Wines use his position in the church to abuse children?
Wines’ role as a Sunday School teacher provided him with unfettered access to young minors. During Sunday School classes at First Presbyterian Church, Wines would turn off the lights, play movies, and call male and female minor students up one by one to sit in his lap. As the children were distracted by the movies, he would take advantage of them by touching and fondling their genitals. Wines would also have children sit on his lap for sexual gratification as he read books to the class.
Where else did Howard Wines abuse children?
In addition to the abuse he enacted at Sunday School, Wines would invite young male and female children to his home. He would often groom his victims by providing them with treats and gained their trust by letting them swim in the community pool and watch R-rated movies. Wines would insist that children “get comfortable” by stripping down their clothes and getting into bed with him to watch a movie, during which he would sexually assault them.
Was Howard Wines ever criminally charged?
In 1985, sexual predator Howard Wines was arrested and charged with 26 felony molestation counts. His criminal complaint indicates that he was ineligible for probation because he “occupied a position of special trust…as a Sunday School teacher/religious leader.”
Wines plead “no contest” to eight felony counts of lewd conduct with children and was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 1985.
What are the signs of sexual abuse among minors?
What are the signs of sexual abuse among minors?
The signs of sexual abuse will vary depending on the minor’s age and can present themselves physically, behaviorally or emotionally. While there may be other causes behind some signs of abuse, it is important to trust your gut. Addressing sexual abuse can be painful, but the sooner you take action, the better off the minor in your care will be.
Among minors, warning signs can be difficult to spot, but include the following:
- Evidence of trauma to the genital area
- Sudden regression to old habits such as bed-wetting or thumb sucking
- Excessive knowledge of sexual topics
- Overly compliant behavior
- Spending an excessive amount of time alone
- Changed eating habits
- Reduced self-esteem
- Lost interest in daily activities
- Sudden fear of being away from primary caregivers
Signs that an adult may be grooming a minor for future abuse include:
- Fails to respect boundaries
- Tries to be a child’s friend rather than an adult role model / does not seem to have an age-appropriate relationship.
- Spends time alone with a child outside of their role in the child’s life
- Gives gifts without reason
Should I file a sexual abuse lawsuit?
The decision to file a civil sexual abuse lawsuit is a personal one, and several factors must be considered. A sexual abuse lawsuit will allow you to expose the wrongs of your perpetrator and potentially receive financial compensation for your pain. However, you will have to provide information about the trauma you experienced as well as other aspects of your personal life.
PCVA’s sexual abuse attorneys are trained in trauma-informed counsel. This means that to prevent re-traumatization, we have undergone professional training on how to work with individuals who have been subjected to trauma. When you work with us, know that you are working with an advocate who represents you with the utmost empathy and care.
How PCVA Can Help
Our nationally recognized attorneys have represented thousands of sexual abuse survivors, helping them achieve justice by holding the institutions that failed to protect them accountable and recovering hundreds of millions of dollars in damages on their behalf. Our attorneys have been involved in some of the most complicated and concerning sexual abuse cases in the country and are often consulted by other law firms for guidance and expertise when representing sexual abuse survivors.
If you have information about Howard Wines and his history of child sexual abuse, our attorneys are here to listen and help. Please reach out to one of our experienced lawyers by completing our online form or calling us at (253) 948-3199 or (206) 536-2850. All conversations are completely confidential.
Can I come forward or sue anonymously if I’m worried about my privacy?
Most likely. The law usually allows attorneys to file lawsuits on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse using a pseudonym, like “John Doe” or “Jane Doe,” or our client’s initials. Moreover, it may be possible to resolve your case privately without filing a lawsuit or going to court.
How much do you charge?
Our work is done on a contingency basis. This means that you do not pay us on an hourly basis, and we advance the costs of litigation. If we help you resolve your case, we receive a percentage of the amount you receive, and you reimburse us for the costs we advanced on your behalf.
Our Case Results
PCVA alone has handled numerous cases of student sexual abuse. Here are links to a few examples:
- $9.15M settlement for 8 men sexually abuse in the Seattle Archdiocese
- $4.25M Settlement in Sexual Assault Case Against Issaquah School District
- $4.2M Settlement Reached in Coach Sexual Abuse Case Against University Place School District
- $3M Settlement in Coach Sexual Abuse Case Against Seattle Public Schools
- $2.25M Settlement for Sexual Abuse at Rainier School