Shade Gap man jailed on sex abuse charges
A Shade Gap man is behind bars on accusations that he sexually abused four juveniles in Bedford, Fulton and Huntingdon counties.
Howard Anthony Strait, 27, of 21272 Main St., faces numerous criminal charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a 10-year-old juvenile female, an 11-year-old juvenile female, a 12-year-old juvenile female and a 13-year-old juvenile male between January 2016 and June 2018.
The Huntingdon County man faces 61 charges, including rape forcible compulsion, rape of a substantially impaired person, rape of child, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with child, aggravated indecent assault of child, corruption of minors, stalking, endangering welfare of children and criminal attempt.
State police said they received a report of sexual abuse of two juvenile females in May 2018 after one of the victims attempted to commit suicide and contributed the abuse by Strait as a factor for wanting to kill herself.
Last June, two of the victims, in an interview with child advocacy center staff, disclosed that they were given marijuana or synthetic marijuana from Strait before he sexually assaulted them during multiple occasions, police said.
One of the victims reported that Strait sexually assaulted her when she was at his residence watching a movie, while laying in bed with him, after breakfast one morning, on a couch and in a vehicle. The victim told police that Strait forcibly had sex with her after breakfast, on a couch and in the car, a police criminal complaint states. She also reportedly told police that Strait used a back massager to sexually abuse her.
The other victim shared a similar story of Strait giving her marijuana or synthetic marijuana on his porch at his old house at 157 Lodge Road in Crystal Spring before sexually assaulting her, according to police.
In December, another juvenile came forward, confirming the other two victims’ stories and accusing Strait of assaulting her as well.
A juvenile victim also claimed witnessing Strait sexually assault another victim a couple of times.
A male victim also told this juvenile victim that something had happened between him and Strait, the complaint states.
In a March interview, the male victim reported two incidents with Strait, saying Strait had him smoke marijuana before assaulting him.
Multiple victims said Strait told them he was making them more comfortable with sex.
A female victim disclosed to police in March that Strait pulled down her pants at his Hopewell residence and sexually assaulted her in August 2016. She said she told Strait to stop, but that he wouldn’t, the complaint states.
The victim also claimed Strait sexually assaulted her in a car a few days after the first incident.
Strait denied all allegations against him in May 2018, according to a public information release.
He was arraigned Wednesday evening in front of Magisterial District Judge Kathy Calhoun. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. May 1 in Bedford Central Court.
Strait is housed at the Bedford County Jail in lieu of $250,000 cash bail.
Mirror Staff Writer Shen Wu Tan is at 946-7457.