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Man charged with attempted rape of 13-year-old foster child in Merrillville
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Man charged with attempted rape of 13-year-old foster child in Merrillville

CROWN POINT — A man was accused Wednesday of attempting to rape a 13-year-old foster girl two years ago at a Merrillville apartment complex.

Jacorri L. Howard, 27, was charged Wednesday in Lake Criminal Court with two counts of attempted rape and criminal confinement on allegations he attempted to sexually assault the girl July 5, 2016, at Brickshire Apartment Complex, 1343 W. 90th Place, in Merrillville.

The girl reported the sexual assault the same day at Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus, records state, but the girl fled her foster home after the incident, so the investigation was tabled by Merrillville police.

Detectives reopened the case March 14 at the urging of the victim's family.

The girl told police she spent the night of Fourth of July at the home of her foster mother's friend. She said Howard, her foster mother's brother, picked her up from the home the morning of July 5 and drove her to the Brickshire Apartment Complex so he could collect money from his brother, records state.

The girl initially told police Howard put his hand down her shorts and propositioned her for sex in a stairwell, records state. In an interview March 29, she told police Howard actually pinned her to the floor and attempted to rape her.

The girl's foster mother said she observed blood stains in the girl's shorts after she returned that morning with Howard. The girl said she initially denied anything was wrong because she feared being sent to a group home, but she eventually told her foster mother what happened, records state.

The foster mother then took the girl to the hospital, where a sexual assault examination was performed.

Howard was interviewed Monday by Merrillville detectives. He initially denied touching the girl, but eventually admitted to kissing her and pulling down her shorts, records state. He claimed the girl initiated the encounter.

Howard is in custody on a $30,000 surety bond, records state. He is also wanted in Porter County on warrants related to two traffic infractions.

Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.

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