Saturday, January 12, 2008

Aaron Howell - Repeat Sex Offender

Dothan police have arrested a 68-year-old man and charged him with molesting a woman at the nursing home where he lived last month.

Aaron Howell, a convicted sex offender, was also charged with moving too close to the grounds of a school, and moving without proper approval by the Dothan Police Department and the Houston County Sheriff’s Office.

Howell violated the state community notification act when he moved into Westside Terrace Health and Rehabilitation Center on Nov. 30, which was also located less than 1,600 feet from Houston Academy, according to police Investigator Sgt. Brian Cherry.

According to state law, a convicted sex offender cannot live within 2,000 feet of a school or day care.

“While he was residing there during the month of December he sexually abused an adult female employee there,” Cherry said. “There are children who visit Westside Terrace so we acted as quickly as possible. We didn’t want him reoffending against a child.”

The violation to the state community notification act was discovered after an employee at the rehabilitation center viewed the sex offender Web site. The violations were reported to investigators at the Houston County Sheriff’s Office last week, on Jan. 3.

Thursday, Dothan police investigators charged Howell with felony first-degree sex abuse, and two felony violations of the community notification act. One of the violations included failure to notify the city or county of his move into the rehabilitation center within 30 days.

Howell faces the new sexual assault charges nearly 15 years after he was convicted of molesting a 6-year-old girl in February 1993. Howell pleaded guilty in 1993 to first-degree sex abuse after Houston County investigators charged him when he lived in Cottonwood.

Deputies more recently charged him last week with three felony violations of the community notification act, according to Sheriff’s Investigator Lt. Susan Seay.

“When he renewed his driver’s license last May he failed to advise DPS (Department of Public Safety) of his sex offender status,” Seay said. “He’s a convicted sex offender.”

Seay also charged him with failure to complete his annual anniversary registration verification, along with his six-month verification. If a sex offender does not move or change occupation he or she is required to register as a sex offender twice a year. The offender has to reregister more often after each time he or she moves, which also has to be approved, Seay said.

Howell is being held in the Houston County Jail on a total $90,000 bond.

Cherry stressed the importance of notification.

“If he had notified us he would not have been living there,” Cherry said. “If he had contacted us prior to moving there we would’ve assisted him somehow placing him somewhere that would be safe without children around.”

No comments: