ROCKLAND, Maine — A Washington man who sexually assaulted as many as 24 children, many from the child care center that his wife ran nearly a quarter century ago, admitted Friday that he violated his probation by being around children and by not following through on sex offender counseling.
Danny W. Howard admitted in Knox County Superior Court to two counts of violating his probation. Sentencing was continued until January.
Howard’s lawyer had sought a year’s continuance of Friday’s hearing but the state opposed the request and Justice Jeffrey Hjelm rejected the proposal.
“The state has significant concern on the future dangerousness of this defendant,” Assistant District Attorney Jeff Baroody said.
Howard is being held in jail pending the sentencing.
Howard was convicted in 1991 of multiple counts of gross sexual assault. Then District Attorney William Anderson said at Howard’s sentencing that the investigation by police turned up 24 victims, some as young as several months old.
Howard, who was released from prison in 2006, faces more prison time after he was found in June on the grounds of the South Liberty Baptist Church where children were attending a Bible study retreat. Terms of Howard’s probation prohibit him from having any contact with children.
Justice Herbert T. Silsby II said at Howard’s 1991 sentencing that Howard should be kept in confinement as long as possible. He then imposed the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. The sentence also included probation in which another 15 years of prison time would hang over Howard’s head.
“Everything indicates you will continue to be a menace to any child around,” Silsby said. “The damage you have done can’t be quantified. It’s a terrible tragedy you have caused.”
Even Howard’s attorney, Lawrence Frier, said at the 1991 hearing that there was a real threat his client would continue his offenses, but that there was little treatment available for someone such as Howard.
At the 1991 hearing, Howard said he hoped the children he abused would receive the treatment that he never received for being a victim of sexual assault. He also thanked then-Knox County Sheriff’s Office Detective Ernest McIntosh for stopping him.
A student in a school drug prevention program run by McIntosh left a note for the officer saying he had been victimized by Howard.
McIntosh, who is now employed as a court security officer, was present at Friday’s hearing.