John R.K. Howard: Coat Hanger Rapist Gets No Jail Time, Shouldn’t ‘Suffer The Consequences Of A Sex Offender’

The name John R.K. Howard is causing shock waves through social media, because many people remember the case of the now 19-year-old football player who was charged with a heinous crime. As reported by the Washington Post, Howard hails from Idaho, and John’s case made news for the horrific details of Howard committing rape with a coat hanger on October 22, 2015, against a teammate who is a mentally disabled minority. Now living in Keller, Texas, Howard was able to avoid prison time and satisfy the charges by getting a plea deal that means John would have to serve up to 300 community service hours and two or three years probation.

John’s final sentence will be determined in February, reports the Twin Falls Times-News, and perhaps by that time the judge will take note of the social media backlash occurring against a prosecutor who claimed the sodomizing of the black teen was not motivated by racism or sexual matters.

As reported by BuzzFeed, Howard’s guilty plea to a felony charge that was a lesser charge means that John R.K. will likely avoid all prison time. The original charge against Howard included “forcible sexual penetration by use of a foreign object,” due to John and two of his teammates using a coat hanger to sodomize their 18-year-old teammate in the Dietrich High School locker room. Howard could have faced a prison sentence if convicted at trial — but Howard accepted a plea deal on Friday that allowed him to plead guilty to “felony injury to a child.” The community service hours can be satisfied in Texas — and John R.K.’s conviction could potentially be dismissed altogether based on Howard’s complete satisfaction of his probation and future crime-free life.

john rk howard
[Image by Kimberlee Kruesi/AP Images]

When the details of the rape case hit the news, there was outrage. Howard reportedly lured the mentally disabled teen into the locker room after telling him that the other teammates wanted to give the victim a hug. Instead of a hug, Tanner Ward rammed a coat hanger inside the victim’s anus — and John R.K. kicked the hanger “five or six times,” according to testimonies. Now that Howard has been able to use the “Alford plea” deal to claim his innocence against an act that Deputy State Attorney General Casey Hemmer called “egregious,” the news is causing outrage across social media. The victim reportedly endured plenty of suffering in the coat hanger rape, but despite that fact, Hemmer claimed that the victim did not suffer a sex crime — and that John R.K. should not “suffer the consequences of a sex offender.”

“Based on continuing investigation throughout this case — interviewing of witnesses, speaking with the victim and getting a better picture of what happened in this case — the state believes this is the appropriate charge. It was egregious behavior, it caused this victim a lot of suffering, but it is not, in my view, a sex crime, which is why the state has amended this charge. We don’t believe it’s appropriate for Mr. Howard to suffer the consequences of a sex offender, but he still needs to be held accountable.”

john rk howard
[Image by Kimberlee Kruesi/AP Images]

Tanner Ward, who was a 17-years-old on the day of the attack, plead guilty in juvenile court, where his case was moved after originally being charged as an adult. The other Dietrich High School football team member who assaulted the victim faces charges in juvenile court. The fate of Howard will be learned in February 2017.

Reactions like the following comment are being published on social media about Howard’s plea deal.

“John R K Howard, the Coat Hanger Rapist will serve only probation! Somebody had to get paid off here,” posted Twitter user Steffi.

[Featured Image by Kimberlee Kruesi/AP Images]