Mills Park Train volunteer arrested in alleged molestation

A former president of the Carson City Railroad Association and volunteer at the Mills Park Train remained in jail Wednesday, accused of fondling a 5-year-old girl in the train station's employee bathroom.

James Merle Howard, 57, was arrested Friday and is being held on $25,000 bail. According to Detective Cate Summers, a 5-year-old girl told her mother that Howard took her into the bathroom Oct. 13, removed her clothing and touched her genitals while kissing her.

Summers said the incident came to light when the girl complained of discomfort after the mother asked if she had fun on the train.

Friday, during a taped interview, Howard initially denied the incident, then "confessed that he had touched the child's (genitals) and that he had kissed her on the mouth," the arrest report states.

The Carson City Railroad Association is a nonprofit organization which began in 1975 and seven years later opened the Mills Park Train.

The building and 4,300 linear feet of track are rented by the association, with fees paid to the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department based on the number of rides given, said parks director Roger Moellendorf. Money made at the concession stand goes to the Carson City Railroad Association.

Rides cost $1.

Moellendorf said a memo was sent out to city parks employees and Railroad Association members barring Howard from the park.

A message left for current Association President Dick Campbell was not returned Wednesday.

n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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