Father Of Victim Speaks Out After Child Sex Offender Released Early
MUSCATINE, IA -- We spoke with the father of the victim, who wants to remain anonymous to protect his son. He says this has caused their family a lifetime of pain.
The father says, "He whimpered in his sleep for a year. My wife had to give him baths, he wouldn't let me in the bathroom. He wouldn't let guys anywhere near. He didn't trust any guy."
Even now, he cowers away, "Even until this day if I try to give him a high five, he will still flinch like I'm going to hit him - like somebody is going to hit him."
The father says it is unimaginable that Robert Howard is now out of prison. He calls it a failure of the legal system. The dad now has full custody of his son, but he wishes the court had given it to him sooner. "They didn't do anything until it was too late."
His son is now six years old, still too young to understand what happened. The dad says, "He will find out eventually so eventually he will have to know. Just don't know when."
While he dreads that moment, for now, he gives his son as normal a life as possible. "He is never going to forget it. Whether he blocks it out or not, he's never going to forget it."
The father's mission is to protect his little boy. "We showed him a picture," he says, "We didn't tell him what he did, but we told him that he is a bad guy and that he needs to stay away from him."
He says his son is happy and healthy now. Day by day, he helps his boy recover.
Robert Howard, 23-years-old, was released early from prison Friday morning. In January 2010, he was arrested for child sex abuse on an 18-month-old baby in Muscatine, IA.
In his first trial, he was convicted for second degree sex abuse. The defense appealed and received a new trial. In this new trial, the court ruled that an interview with the Muscatine Police should not have been admitted. Howard pled guilty to Lascivious Acts with a Child and Child Endangerment Causing Injury.
Howard received ten years in prison for Lascivious Acts with a Child. He received a concurrent five years for Child Endangerment Causing Injury.
Muscatine County Attorney, Alan R. Ostergren says his sentence expired, which is why Howard was released today. Each inmate received "earned time". They receive credits for 1.1 additional days per day of good behavior. This means they can get 2.1 days off of their sentence for each day served.
This is what happened to Howard, which is why he was released from prison after four years rather than ten.
Howard is now living in Clinton. He will have a probation officer under the Clinton County Sheriff's Office. Howard is also a registered sex offender and will have to follow all the rules and regulations of a registered sex offender.
We spoke with the grandmother of the child. She says the family is very upset about Howard's early release. Even though Clinton is more than an hour away from Muscatine, she says it's not far enough away from their now healthy 6-year-old grandchild.