Glen B. Howard, who is charged with five counts of child rape and one count of sexual battery, took the witness stand on Tuesday to deny any sexual contact with his wife's two young daughters.
Howard is on trial in the courtroom of Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman.
He said the daughters were very unruly and had gotten upset with him when he disciplined them for tearing up homework papers and scattering it through their Red Bank apartment.
He said the girls came out in front of him and his wife and claimed he had been coming into their room and touching them while she was working third shift.
At the same time he said they stated that they had been told at school that if they told on someone for touching them that person would get in trouble.
Howard admitted that he sometimes watched pornography on a computer in the bedroom and would then masturbate. He said the girls might have seen him do that if they slightly opened his bedroom door.
He also said he formerly had a problem gambling, but he said his current girlfriend had helped cure him of that.
Howard said he has some military background and had finished a police academy as a young man at Lake Placid, Fla.
The trial 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.
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 older of the two children, who is now 14, told the jury she stands by her earlier account.
Charlie Minor is the prosecutor.