Former Mass Resident Convicted in Virginia of Abuse

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that a registered sex offender was convicted in late March of sexually abusing two young children over three months, authorities said.

Charles Howe Sr., 64, who was convicted in 1983 in Massachusetts of indecent assault and battery of a minor, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Colonial Heights Circuit Court to two felony counts of aggravated sexual battery of two children.

Under terms of a plea agreement, Howe was sentenced to a total of 40 years in prison, with all but three years suspended.

After his release, Howe will be committed civilly for at least one year. Prosecutors may seek to have him committed for a longer period under the Virginia Sexually Violent Predator Civil Commitment Act, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Elizabeth Fields.

“Due to the severe emotional trauma caused to the children by this abuse, the commonwealth entered into a plea agreement with the defendant,” Fields said. “This was to prevent further trauma to the children and to ensure that the defendant was convicted of aggravated sexual abuse, a violent sex-offender registry crime.”

The Times Dispatch reported that between Dec. 1, 2010, and April 9, 2011, Howe repeatedly sexually abused the children and the children told their grandmother and parents about the extensive abuse. But the adults kept the abuse quiet and failed to report it to authorities.

The abuse was eventually reported to police by someone outside the victims’ home who learned about it, Fields said.

The children’s grandmother and father pleaded guilty to one count each of child neglect and abuse, and both were sentenced to 12 months in jail with nine months suspended. The mother’s case is pending.

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