ROCKLAND, Maine — A Washington man who sexually assaulted as many as 24 children, many from the child care center that his wife operated from the late 1980s into 1990, made an initial court appearance Tuesday on allegations that he violated terms of his probation.
Danny W. Howard, 63, 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, now faces revocation of his probation after he allegedly was seen in June on the grounds of the South Liberty Baptist Church where children attending a church Bible study retreat were present. Terms of Howard’s probation prohibit him from having contact with children.
Justice Herbert T. Silsby II said at Howard’s 1991 sentencing that he should be kept in confinement as long as possible when the judge imposed what was then 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 said 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 to the officer saying he had been victimized by Howard.
Howard is being held without bail in Kennebec County Jail. He appeared in Knox County Superior Court on Tuesday before Justice Jeffrey Hjelm on a motion by Howard’s probation office to revoke the probation. The motion also stated that Howard had not completed his court-ordered counseling.
Tuesday’s hearing was postponed to an unspecified date after Howard’s attorney, James Rawley, asked that a competency evaluation be done on his client.
Howard did not speak. He was shackled and dressed in orange jail clothing.
Howard served as a deacon at South Liberty Baptist Church until his arrest in 1990.