Man accused of fondling turns self in to police

Man accused of fondling turns self in to police

URBANA — A man suspected of fondling an Edison Middle School student is in the Champaign County Jail after turning himself in Tuesday, police said.

Herbert J. Howard, 27, who listed an address in the 500 block of South Mattis Avenue, C, came to the Champaign Police Department on Tuesday afternoon, five days after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

After Howard was questioned by a police investigator, he was arrested at 2:23 p.m. for aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The offense is a Class 2 felony carrying penalties ranging from probation to three to seven years in prison.

Howard is being held on $25,000 bond. He is scheduled to be in court today.
The incident allegedly happened with a 13-year-old female student at Edison, 306 W. Green St., during school hours on Nov. 8. Howard was working there as a hall monitor at the time.

State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said Howard allegedly fondled the girl over her clothing in an elevator at the school. The charge includes the element that he held a position of trust or supervision over her. Rietz said the investigation revealed the conduct happened once.

Police spokeswoman Rene Dunn said detectives worked with the Champaign school district and the Department of Children and Family Services to help identify Howard as a suspect. She said the results of the investigation were then forwarded to the state’s attorney’s office on Jan. 10.

Judge John Kennedy then issued a warrant for Howard’s arrest on Thursday.

Dunn said police were not releasing information about Howard’s whereabouts before Tuesday.

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