John R.K Howard


SHOSHONE • An 18-year-old accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student in a Dietrich High School locker room has been arrested in Texas on a Lincoln County warrant.

John R.K. Howard, 18, of Keller, Texas, is one of three teens charged with a brutal sexual assault following an October football practice. The Idaho Attorney General’s Office took over the investigation and prosecution of the case Nov. 12 and filed charges against the three teens March 4.

Howard was arrested Tuesday in Tarrant County, Texas, and is being held in Tarrant County Correction Center in Fort Worth.

A Lincoln County magistrate judge signed a $75,000 warrant for Howard’s arrest March 4. He is accused by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office of felony forcible penetration by use of a foreign object.

A judge sealed records detailing the exact nature of the alleged crimes, but a source close to the investigation said the assault occurred in a Dietrich High School locker room after an October football practice.

Two other teen boys have been charged in the October locker room assault, one as an adult and one as a juvenile. A 16-year-old boy was arraigned Friday in Lincoln County Magistrate Court on a felony count of forcible penetration by use of a foreign object.

The other teen was in court the same day, but his case is sealed, and his hearing was sealed because he was charged as a minor.

The Attorney General’s Office could not say what crime he’s been charged with.

Howard and the 16-year-old are both accused of using a coat hanger during the Oct. 22 attack, according to the limited court documents available to the public.

The 16-year-old is being charged as an adult because Idaho law mandates that juveniles aged 14 to 18 accused of committing certain crimes on or near school campuses are charged as adults.

The Times-News is withholding his name because the newspaper typically does not identify juveniles charged with crimes. Howard was 18 at the time of the alleged assault.

If Howard does not post bond, he’ll have the right to an extradition hearing in Texas, said Pam Piper, a civil deputy in the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. If he does post bond, he must promise to appear for all court hearings in Lincoln County.

Immediately after charges were filed against Howard and the two boys March 4, Lincoln County Judge Mark A. Ingram sealed the cases at the request of Deputy Attorney General Brenda M. Bauges, who argued releasing details about the incident would make it hard for the defendants to face a fair trial.

In her motion filed March 4, Bauges contended “that the probable cause affidavit at issue contains facts that may be at issue in subsequent proceedings and, potentially, a trial. The State is aware that there has already been media coverage relating to the underlying facts of this case. The State therefore contends that it is necessary to temporarily seal the affidavit to preserve the defendant’s right to a fair trial.”

Dietrich Superintendent Ben Hardcastle said last week the school would not have comment on the case but that it has given “full support to the investigation” and “would certainly follow the court’s guidelines” as far as a no-contact order.

Ingram signed a no-contact order between the 16-year-old and the alleged victim Friday despite argument by defense attorney Michael Wood, that the boys are friends.

“Due to the seriousness of the crime alleged, I see no reason why a no-contact order shouldn’t be imposed,” Ingram said. “If the friendship is as strong as you say it is, it will survive a no-contact order.”

The victim’s mother told the Times-News on Friday that her son was not friends with the 16-year-old. She also praised the work of the attorney general’s office and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

The 16-year-old, who is not in custody, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing April 22. No court dates are scheduled for Howard.

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