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New charges against long-haul trucker held in Columbia sexual assault

Mar 10, 2011 6:20:00 PM - thestate.com
A truck driver already accused of sexually assaulting one Columbia woman now has been accused of attacking five others.

Cornelius Julian Howard Jr., 35, was arrested in January after a woman reported that he attacked her in her apartment.

Because Howard drives trucks for a living, sheriff's investigators began looking for other victims. They interviewed more than 100 women across the United States who Howard had communicated with during his travels, according to a report from the Richland County Sheriff's Department. They have identified five other women that allegedly have been sexually assaulted by Howard, the report said.

In the original case, Howard and the victim met on an online dating site. They chatted for several weeks until the victim agreed to meet Howard for lunch at a Columbia restaurant. After the meal, they rented a movie and went to her apartment, the sheriff's department said.There, Howard allegedly sexually assaulted her. The woman repeatedly asked Howard to stop and to leave. Howard left but allegedly returned, broke into her home and assaulted the woman a second time, the report said.

He was arrested on charges of criminal sexual conduct and burglary.