Saturday, December 08, 2001

Accused molester out of hospital

Howell in Kenton Co. jail on nine sodomy charges

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON —Larry Eugene Howell, accused of being a child molester, was brought back to Kentucky Friday to face nine sodomy charges.

        Mr. Howell waived extradition during a short hearing Friday in Hamilton County and arrived at 4:30 p.m. at the Kenton County Detention Center, where he was being held on $110,000 cash bond Friday night.

        The 40-year-old Erlanger man was at University Hospital for eight days after a Covington mother shot him in the groin and the side. The woman, whom The Enquirer is not identifying to protect her child, claims she shot Mr. Howell after hearing that he molested her 13-year-old son.

        Thursday and Friday, officials took action to get Mr. Howell in more secure custody after a hospital staffer called 911 to report overhearing Mr. Howell saying he “wasn't going to stick around” for more charges to be filed.

        Although a warrant had been issued in Kenton County on Tuesday for Mr. Howell's arrest on the nine sodomy charges, officials planned to wait to serve it until he was released from the hospital, where he had surgery to repair damage to his bowels and spleen.

        Thirty boys have come forward since Mr. Howell was shot to say they had improper sexual contact with the man, according to police. Police have not confirmed that the woman's son is listed as a victim in any of the charges against Mr. Howell. More charges are possible against the ex-convict and part-time carnival worker, police have said.

        Mr. Howell will be arraigned on the nine sodomy charges, some involving juveniles under 14, Monday morning in Kenton District Court, according to Erlanger police.

        The investigation into Mr. Howell has rapidly escalated since he was picked up Nov. 27 on possession of marijuana and possession of child pornography charges.

        The Covington mother shot Mr. Howell two days later next to a Covington Police station during a confrontation in which she demanded he confess.

        That led to a community debate on why Mr. Howell was charged only with possession of child pornography and released on $1,000 bail. Once the felony charges were filed against Mr. Howell, Judge Martin Sheehan raised his bail to $10,000 on the pornography possession. Another judge then added $100,000 for the sodomy


        Some came to the mother's defense, even posting her $10,000 bail. Others made threats against Mr. Howell.

        Erlanger police said they have heard of four or five death threats made against Mr. Howell but didn't release any details. Col. Rodney Ballard, Kenton County chief deputy jailer, said he was told Friday that Mr. Howell, still recovering from surgery, can walk and go the bathroom himself. He said a jail nurse will interview Mr. Howell and review his hospital discharge papers to ensure he gets proper medical care.

        Earlier in the week, the hospital, already concerned about Mr. Howell's safety, placed the wanted man in a room under an assumed name and stopped acknowledging that Mr. Howell was their patient.

        “He (Mr. Howell) is safer in jail than on the streets,” said Erlanger Police Detective Tony Wilson. “I'm convinced of that. ... You see what happened last time he got out.”


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