A man who was arrested over the weekend, after he was busted heading to a California gay pride event with a car full of weapons and explosives, was charged with child molestation on Wednesday.
According to the Associated Press, James Wesley Howell faces the charge in Clark County, Indiana, where he resides. The Jeffersonville man is accused of taking a 12-year-old girl to a secluded area and raping her. He allegedly volunteered to take the girl to another family friend’s home following a car event.
“They crawled in the back seat (of Howell’s car) and did things they should not have been doing,” the victim’s mother told the Indianapolis Star. Though she said her daughter saw him as a boyfriend and didn’t see herself as being abused, the fact remains that Howell is a grown man and the victim is a pubescent child, and the mom went to police on June 2.
As CrimeFeed reported earlier this week, Howell, 30, arrested en route to the West Hollywood Gay Pride Parade with a car full of guns and explosives. Though Howell told authorities that he meant no harm and was going to the parade to look for a friend, the New York Post reports he was charged with three felony weapons and ammunition charges on Tuesday.
Howell is believed to have fled Indiana after carrying out the alleged rape. “He understood that this child molesting investigation was ongoing and he was in imminent danger of being arrested,” said Clark County prosecutor Jeremy Mull. Court documents obtained by the Star stated that Howell was briefly questioned on June 7 and swiftly requested a lawyer when the abuse allegations were brought up.
Mull claimed he intends to have Howell extradited to Indiana to face charges. If convicted, Howell faces 17 years behind bars.
“He did flee and go to California, where he was apprehended on June 12,” Mull said. “So there was a very short window of time between the time he became aware he was under investigation here and when he ended up in California.”
A Los Angeles County judge set his bail at $2 million for the weapons charges, Howell’s intentions remain unclear.
Photo: Santa Monica Police Department