May 6, 2016


Appeals court upholds 72-year-old’s conviction

ELYRIA — An appeals court has upheld the rape and kidnapping conviction of a 72-year-old man who was accused of abducting a 13-year-old girl off the streets of Oberlin and sexually assaulting her.

The 9th District Court of Appeals decision, handed down Monday, rejected arguments from John P. Howard that he was wrongly convicted.

Howard was sentenced to 13 years in prison in February 2013 after a jury trial in which he denied wrongdoing. In addition to the rape and kidnapping charges, the jury also found Howard guilty of intimidation for threatening to kill the girl and her family.

Howard had been accused of confronting the girl as she was walking on March 27, 2011, in Oberlin and showing her a gun he had tucked into his pants.

The victim testified he took her home and groped her, kissed her and forced her to perform oral sex on him. After that encounter, she told her mother and police what had happened.

The jury cleared Howard of additional charges that he had locked the girl in his home and sexually assaulted her earlier in 2011.