The trial of Glen B. Howard, who is charged with five counts of child rape and one count of sexual battery, opened with testimony from the children’s mother. At the time of the accusation, she and her two daughters had been living with Howard for two years. They had met at Rob’s Place, a bar on Dayton Boulevard, and had known each other 4-5 years when they decided to live together.
A previous four-year-long relationship had ended for the mother six months earlier when she moved her family to her own parents home. In October, 2007 she and her six- and eight-year-old daughters made the second move to live with Howard in an apartment complex in Red Bank. Howard was in charge of the maintenance for this apartment development and two others. The oldest girl was enrolled in elementary school, and the youngest in kindergarten. Their mother worked nights and left her children under Howard’s supervision.
When the decision was made to live together, the mother said she was excited and so were her daughters who both liked Howard and had fun playing with him. She described her relationship with him as good and normal. “Until the night I decided to leave, I thought the relationship was wonderful,” she said. "I loved and trusted him."
Howard was described as a very orderly person who liked regimentation and was not accustomed to “bouncy” children, so there was some level of high stress that he endured living with the two little girls, both diagnosed with ADHD and who were on medication for the condition. One of the first things the new couple did was to establish rules and make a sticker chart with stars for good behavior. They shared the responsibilities of keeping the children and helping them with homework. She worked a third shift and slept during the day until the children got home from school. He kept them at night when she was at work. They shared financial responsibilities, but did not combine their money or have a joint checking account. They also had no rental payments because he worked for the apartments.
On the night of Dec. 9, 2009, the mother said she was preparing to return to work after staying home sick for the four-five days prior. Howard left to get pizza for dinner and, when he returned, all was normal with the children eating at the kitchen table and the couple in the living room. After eating, the oldest daughter, who was 10 at the time, came into the room and tried to get her sister to join her and said, “I’m just going to go ahead and tell you that at night when you’ve gone to work, Glen is touching us.” The mother said her first reaction was to try and understand the allegations and, when she realized the meaning, that she immediately believed the children. She described the oldest daughter as being giddy and one who giggles when nervous and the youngest one as being scared.
The children were immediately told to change clothes and they prepared to leave. Howard was down on his knees pleading that he could not have done something like that and was crying. He continued to ask their mother to take them to a doctor to have them checked out.
In the van on the way to her own parents' house, the little sister continued to be scared and the older one described graphically the accusations. Later that night a report was made to the Red Bank Police. The children were taken to the Children’s Advocacy Center to make a formal statement and have physical examinations.
Defense attorney Mary Ann Green, on cross examination, questioned the mother about her being “into alcohol” and about heralleged heavy drinking habits along with the practice of allegedly leaving Rob’s Place with different men. These things changed, she was told, after moving in with Howard. Four to five months into that relationship, she was arrested for filing a false police report of being carjacked. For that, she received six months for good behavior and her record was later expunged. She still maintains today that it did happen.
The mother said “a part of me didn’t want to believe them” in reference to the allegations made by her children. But, they told things that children shouldn’t know, she stated. “They could have seen things,” said the defense attorney. A discrepancy was also noted by attorney Green about the time the children claimed the last alleged incident with Howard happened. When a time was given, it was pointed out that the mother was at home sick. She also questioned if the tubular metal bunk bed where the girls slept was sturdy enough to support Howard's weight.
The second witness called was the older of the two children who is now 14 and who made the accusations. A video of the interview done by the CAC when the child was 10 was shown to the jury. The witness, who is now 14, still claims that what she said at that time was accurate.