Public defender appointed for man accused of sex abuse

Public defender appointed for man accused of sex abuse

URBANA — A Champaign County judge Wednesday appointed the public defender to represent a Champaign Unit 4 hall monitor accused of sexual abuse.

Herbert Howard, 37, of the 500 block of South Mattis Avenue, Champaign, appeared before Judge Chase Leonhard, who arraigned him on a single count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Howard allegedly groped a student over her clothing at Edison Middle School on Nov. 8, 2012.

The incident allegedly happened in an elevator in the building at 306 W. Green St., C.

A warrant had been issued for Howard's arrest last Thursday. He turned himself in at the Champaign Police Department on Tuesday and was taken to the Champaign County Jail, where he posted $2,500 cash to be released.

In his affidavit of assets seeking a court-appointed attorney, Howard said he is married and has debts of $32,600 but earns only $1,000 a month as a member of Unit 4 support staff. He said he's been employed by the Champaign school district for five years.

Howard declined to speak to The News-Gazette outside the court Wednesday.

Through assistant public defender Jim Kuehl, Howard pleaded not guilty and waived his right to a probable cause hearing. He is due back in court March 11.

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