URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — A Champaign man was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison on Tuesday for sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.
Court documents establish that Charles Howard, 41, sexually abused and exploited a 15-year-old girl in his care. He further threatened to kill her and himself if she told anyone about the abuse.
Howard has two prior convictions from 2000 and 2001 for criminal sexual abuse in Champaign County and was a registered sex offender at the time of his arrest in June 2020.
A federal grand jury charged Howard in September 2020 with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of possession of child pornography and one count of committing sex offenses as a registered sex offender. He pleaded guilty to all three counts in October 2021.
At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Michael Mihm said that Howard’s conduct was “as bad as it gets” and caused physical injury that would have lasting effect on the victim’s life.
The investigation into Howard’s crimes was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations division and the Champaign Police Department. Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Reitz assisted.
“HSI is proud to work with our law enforcement partners to protect our communities by making sure offenders like Howard are investigated,” said Homeland Security Investigations Chicago Special Agent in Charge Angie Salazar. “We will continue to identify and investigate those who endanger our most vulnerable population and protect our children. We will not allow crimes against children to go unpunished.”