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Man found guilty of molesting girl in Indianapolis park

James Howard (Provided Photo/Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office announced Friday a man was found guilty of molesting a girl in 2022 at an Indianapolis park on the northeast side.

James Howard Jr., 52, was convicted Wednesday after a three-day court trial of child molesting, kidnapping, and criminal confinement. He was charged in August 2022.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers were dispatched to a park located in the 3300 block of Forest Manor Avenue near 34th Street and Sherman Drive on Aug. 16, 2022. Upon arrival, officers located the female child who called 911 and reported that she was assaulted by Howard.

The victim spoke with investigators after being sent to a children’s hospital. She said she saw the suspect prior to the attack, saying he was looking at a phone on a bench. She provided a description of the suspect, his clothing, and his phone to police.

The victim told officers Howard had approached her from behind, put a black rag in her mouth, and dragged her to a wooded area where she was raped.

With the help from the community, police were able to identify Howard as a suspect and locate him.

According to a release, special victim prosecutors were able to fly to the victim, who was 11 years old at the time of the incident, and accompanied her back to Indianapolis to testify during the trial.

“The young survivor in this case has repeatedly shown admirable courage throughout this extremely difficult process. Her testimony ultimately put law enforcement and prosecutors in a position to ensure that the defendant cannot harm others in our community,” Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears stated in a release. “This case demonstrates our trial teams’ willingness to go above and beyond to secure justice on behalf of victims and their families.”

A sentencing hearing has been set for Sept. 25 at 1 p.m.

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