Thursday, December 06, 2001

Suspected molester's bond raised after new charges

Man still in hospital with gunshot wounds

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — A Kenton County district judge has raised Larry Eugene Howell's $1,000 bond to $10,000 cash, calling allegations that the Erlanger man molested children “too serious to ignore.”

        “I can't with good conscience leave Mr. Howell's bond at $1,000 since new charges have come to light,” Kenton District Judge Martin J. Sheehan said during a bond hearing Wednesday afternoon.

        Judge Sheehan set Mr. Howell's original bond at $1,000 after he was arraigned on misdemeanor charges Nov. 28. He was charged with trafficking marijuana within 1,000 yards of a school and possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor.

        Mr. Howell remains in the hospital after he was shot in the groin and the abdomen Nov. 29 by an angry mother. She told the Enquirer she shot him “where it counts” so he would not hurt another child. The mother of five, who works in Covington, told police she shot the Erlanger man after her 13-year-old son said the ex-convict had sexually molested him over the last 18 months.

        Police say they are investigating the allegations.

        The Enquirer is not identifying the woman to protect her son.

        “The allegations are that I released a sexual predator out on a minimal bond,” Judge Sheehan said during an interview Wednesday. “That isn't the case.”

        The judge said he had no knowledge of allegations of molestation until later. The child pornography charge was a misdemeanor, and Judge Sheehan said prosecutors didn't have information that Mr. Howell himself took the pictures of naked boys he was charged with possessing.

        The woman's son is one of 30 Northern Kentucky boys who have told police they had contact with Mr. Howell over two years at different locations, according to Erlanger police.

        Erlanger police on Tuesday filed nine felony counts of sodomy against Mr. Howell. Kenton District Judge Douglas Grothaus said he set Mr. Howell's bond at $100,000 for those charges.

        The sodomy charges involved more than one minor over a period of two years, police said. Other details of the charges have been sealed to protect the identity of the minors, said Erlanger police.

        The warrant on the sodomy charges has not been served, and Mr. Howell remained in a Cincinnati hospital Wednesday night. Mr. Howell is not expected to be released from the hospital for two to three weeks, his attorney, David Bender, told Judge Sheehan Wednesday.

        Mr. Bender has said his client is innocent and has declined interview requests on his behalf.

        The woman accused of shooting Mr. Howell has a 1:30 p.m. hearing today in Kenton County Court. She was bailed out of the Kenton County Detention Center late Monday afternoon.

        A group of supporters raised $10,000 cash to post her bond.

        Mr. Howell was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of distributing obscene material to a minor in 2000. He is not listed in Kentucky's or Ohio's registries of sexual predators.


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