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Richardson pleads guilty to reduced charges in rape case

A Havre businessman pleaded guilty in a plea agreement to reduced charges in a case where he was accused of forcing a woman to perform oral sex, letting her leave when she agreed to come back later for more sex.

Howard Richardson, born in 1961, pleaded guilty in state District Court in Havre to a misdemeanor charge of sexual assault, with the Hill County Attorney recommending, in the plea agreement to a six-month suspended sentence, a fine of up to $500 and restitution to pay for the victim's mental health counseling.

Judge John C. McKeon of Chinook, who is presiding over the case, set sentencing for next Wednesday. Richardson requested Judge Dan Boucher of Havre recuse himself from the case.

Richardson originally was charged with sexual intercourse without consent, a felony.

The woman contacted police at 9:46 p. m. May 28 and reported she had been raped by Richardson.

Richardson, when contacted by police at the time, denied having any contact with the woman and said her allegations were false.

The woman told police she had contacted Richardson because she wanted to talk to him about the relationship he had with a mutual acquaintance, saying Richardson had gotten her friend pregnant. The two drove around for a while and talked, she said.

She said when they returned to his residence, which is fairly far away from any other residences, he invited her to come inside, and she entered the building.

He was showing her around his residence, and when they entered the bedroom, he pinned her between the bed and night stand with his body, she told the officers.

Richardson started unbuttoning her pants, and pulling her pants down. She kept pulling them back up while telling him to stop and repeatedly saying, "No, " she told the officer interviewing her.

She said he reached under her shirt and took off her bra and began kissing her face and body.

She told the officer Richardson offered her $100 to have sex with him, and told her no one would have to find out what had happened if she had sex with him.

She said he told her she at least owed him oral sex, and that she agreed, believing that would be the only way for her to get out of the situation.

After that, he asked her if she wanted to have sex, and she agreed to meet him at midnight, believing that was her only way to get out, she said.

She told the officers that she considered trying to jump over the bed and run, or striking him, but did not believe she could escape him or knock him out.


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