28 years in prison for man who raped Bensenville woman he met via messaging app
A Chicago man who used the Kik instant-messaging app to meet his victim was sentenced Wednesday to 28 years in prison for sexually assaulting a Bensenville woman.
Oscar Howell, 28, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault in April, according to a news release from the DuPage County state's attorney's office.
Authorities say that in April 2014, Howell used the screen name "Thatfamousboytrey" and a fake profile picture to convince a 19-year-old woman that they knew each other from school.
In June 2014, she met Howell outside her house at 2 a.m. and got in his car. Howell kept his face turned to the driver's-side window and drove to an alley a few blocks away. He pulled out a knife and ordered the victim to get in the back seat. He threatened to stab her, then sexually assaulted her multiple times, according to the news release.
He drove her home and threatened her not to disclose the attack.
But she reported it to Bensenville police, and Howell was arrested in April 2016.
At Wednesday's hearing, prosecutors proved Howell had committed another sexual assault with nearly identical circumstances, in June 2014 in La Grange Park, according to the news release.
"Social media apps can be friendly, good-natured and even helpful when used responsibly," State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement. "These same apps however, can be used by sexual predators like Oscar Howell as a hunting ground for their next victim."
Berlin offered safety tips: Video chat with the person before meeting for the first time, meet in a public place, tell someone where you are going and don't rely on the person you are meeting for transportation.
Howell will have to serve at least 85% of his sentence. And he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.