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Defendant testifies, denies sex abuse allegations

A 33-year-old man on trial for the sexual abuse of a 10-year-old girl testified Thursday in Carroll County Circuit Court, adamantly denying the allegations levied against him.

There is no truth whatsoever to those allegations, said William Meldrium Howard IV, formerly of Sykesville.

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Howard is charged with sexual abuse of a minor and sexual abuse of a minor as part of a continuing course of conduct.

Howard said he was shocked and angry when first confronted with the allegations that he sexually abused the victim 450 to 600 times throughout a three-year period, ending in 2011 when he was charged with the crimes.

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Howard testified Thursday that on one occasion he "smothered" the girl with kisses in a comforting way after an incident in which he helped remove a tick from her, but said that was the only time he kissed the girl on the lips.

Howard's testimony lasted much of the afternoon Thursday and concluded the evidentiary portion of the case.

Earlier in the week, the victim testified Howard had sexually assaulted her on a weekly basis for three years. She also testified Howard had physically assaulted her as well, including an incident where she feared for her life after being choked. Howard denied these claims.

The girl kept the assaults a secret until showing her mother a journal entry she wrote in May 2011 after one of the alleged sexual assaults on her by Howard. She said she showed her mother the journal because she wanted the abuse to stop.

Howard was charged in May 2011 after the claims were investigated by the Carroll County Advocacy and Investigation Center.

Howard has since been out on pretrial release and living with his father in Hyattsville.

The state and defense counsel are expected to give closing arguments today in Carroll County Circuit Court. Also today, the jury is expected to begin deliberations.

Editor's note: The Carroll County Times does not identify victims of alleged sexual assault.

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