LA Pride Suspect Fled a Child Molestation Probe

He allegedly had sex with 12-year-old
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2016 8:16 AM CDT
LA Pride Suspect Fled a Child Molestation Probe
James Wesley Howell, 20, of Indiana.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

It still isn't clear what James Howell was doing en route to an LA Pride event with weapons and explosives in his car—police say he had no connection to the Orlando shooting—but we now know more about him: The 20-year-old Indiana man was charged with child molestation Wednesday after allegedly having sex with a 12-year-old girl on May 31. A Clark County prosecutor—who plans to have Howell extradited back to Indiana—tells the AP that Howell and the girl's brother are members of the same car club and that the girl attended a car event with Howell. Afterward, Howell offered to drive the girl to the home of a family friend but first stopped at a forested area, where Howell molested her, the prosecutor says. The girl's mom went to police two days later and Howell was interviewed on June 7.

Police say he admitted to fleeing Indiana "due to his concerns over existing or pending criminal charges" after he was found early Sunday with a loaded assault rifle, Taser, hood, magazines, handcuffs, and 15 pounds of explosive chemicals that "posed a grave danger to both persons and property," per the Los Angeles Times. He faces up to 16 years if convicted of child molestation, and more than nine years if convicted of felony weapons charges, including possession of explosives on a highway, possession of an assault weapon, and possession of high-capacity magazines. Howell—who friends describe as a gun enthusiast—was convicted of misdemeanor intimidation in April after allegedly pulling a gun on a neighbor and wasn't allowed to have weapons or leave Indiana. His bail is set at $2 million. (Read more California stories.)

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