Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Northampton County prisoner levels false rape charge against cellmate, police say

A 20-year-old Wilson Borough man jailed under charges he took a swing at a cop has since made a false accusation that his cellmate raped him, according to police.

Charles Christopher Howells, formerly of the 400 block of South 21st Street, told Northampton County Prison guards he was raped April 2 by cellmate Steven Halada, according to court records.

Halada denied any physical contact with Howells, who recanted the claim on April 29. Howells allegedly told police he wanted to get Halada punished because he "heard (Halada) likes little boys."

Halada, formerly of Slatington, was previously convicted of trying on Aug. 5, 2006, to lure a 13-year-old boy into his car with offers of food, cash and a pill. Halada was released Oct. 8, 2009, but re-jailed under accusations he didn't undergo court-ordered therapy.

Howells is awaiting trial on an accusation he swung at Wilson Borough officer Michael Potope "to see what if felt like to hit a cop." Court records say Howells waited at police headquarters and missed with a punch when Potope came to help him.

Howells at that time was on probation for allegedly punching a Pennsylvania State Police trooper in Bucks County.

According to the latest accusation, Howells told police in a written statement that he was raped while he was sleeping. He's charged with false swearing, unsworn falsification to authorities and false reports to law enforcement.

Howells told District Judge Gay Elwell at a video arraignment today that he takes medications but ran out two weeks ago. Court records did not disclose his medical condition.

He was re-committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $10,000 bail. Elwell ordered Howells to keep up with his medicine. She also said he may be moved to a mental health facility or group home.