Friday, June 28, 2013

Plea deal reached in sex-crime case

Valley actor pleads guilty to sexual abuse of a child

Express Staff Writer

    A jury trial was averted earlier this month for a local actor who was charged with two felony sex crimes.
    Instead, Dawson A. Howard, 31, entered into a plea agreement on June 6 with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and pleaded guilty to a single felony offense of sexual abuse of a child. The crime is punishable in Idaho by up to 25 years in prison. With the conviction, Howard will be required to register as a sex offender.
    Howard was originally charged with rape and lewd conduct with a minor child. Both of those crimes are punishable in Idaho by up to life in prison.
    The trial was scheduled to start on June 11. Sentencing for Howard before 5th District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee is scheduled for Aug. 19.
    Howard is represented by Hailey attorney Douglas Werth under Werth’s public defender contract with Blaine County. Dawson remains free on $30,000 bond.
   The charges against him were brought in a Blaine County grand jury indictment issued on Jan. 11.
  The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the case, reported earlier that Howard allegedly had sex with a 14-year-old girl in August of 2011. Police reported that Howard had met the girl when he was a camp counselor at a drama camp in which the girl was enrolled.
    Howard has appeared in numerous theatrical and musical productions in the valley.

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