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Woman indicted in child molestation case

ALBANY -- The custodian of a 5-year-old child who authorities say was abused by a registered sex offender has been indicted by a grand jury after prosecutors say she knew Loyce Harris was a sex offender and still allowed him to be around the child.

Callie Howard, 41, has been indicted on one count of reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, District Attorney Greg Edwards said.

Howard is not the parent of the victim, but is a female relative with "control and custody" over the victim, Edwards said. Howard apparently was dating Harris when the alleged incident occurred, he said.

"There is no indication that she collaborated with the defendant in any way, but she was negligent because she knew of his background, even had a conversation with him about it, and still allowed him to be alone with the victim."

Harris has been charged with rape and child molestation for what Edwards said was a gruesome attack on the child. He is being held in the Dougherty County Jail.

The incident is believed to have happened sometime in the spring or summer months, Edwards said.

Wednesday afternoon, a bench warrant was issued for Howard.

Edwards said that the indications are that Harris tried to explain away his statutory rape conviction by saying that the victim in that case lied to him about her age.

According to the GBI's Sex Offender Registry Listing for Harris, he was convicted in 1998 of statutory rape. The Georgia Department of Corrections records, however, show that Harris was convicted in Worth County in 2007 of attempted child molestation, false imprisonment and burglary and was supposed to be serving a 10 -year sentence.

Edwards said he had no information about Harris' criminal record or why he was free when he should have been jailed on his Worth County conviction.