Man pleads guilty to performing sexual conduct in front of minor


A 44-year-old Brownstown man who recently pleaded guilty to performing sexual conduct in the presence of a minor will spend a year in jail.

William Michael Howell received that sentence Friday from Jackson Circuit Court Judge Richard W. Poynter.

Howell was originally arrested on a Level 4 felony charge of child molestation on April 14, 2019.

As part of the plea agreement, Howell agreed to plead guilty to performing sexual conduct in the presence of a minor, a Level 2 felony, and receive a two-year prison term.

That sentence will be served in the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown.

Poynter suspended the second year, and that year will be served on home detention.

A Level 4 felony in Indiana could result in two to 12 years in prison with an advisory sentence of six years, whereas a Level 6 felony calls for a sentence of six months to two and a half years in prison with an advisory sentence of one year.

As a part of the agreement, Howell also agreed to have no contact with the minor victim, be tested for controlled substances, drugs and/or alcohol and register as a sex offender.

Howell also received two days of credit and two days of good time credit.

The investigation into the incident began when Brownstown police were called to a home in the 200 block of South Ewing Street, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by Brownstown Police Department Detective Jac Sanders.

Officer Blake McCrary initially responded to the home to assist a Department of Child Services representative in interviewing children.

A girl was interviewed Feb. 26 at Susie’s Place, a child advocacy center, and she told an investigator Howell had touched her multiple times, according to court documents. She said Howell touched her stomach under her shirt, smacked her buttocks, touched her chest over her clothing and touched her thighs on more than one occasion, according to the probable cause affidavit.

She also told investigators Howell would put his hands down his pants while in her presence.

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