URBANA, Ill. – A registered sex offender will spend decades in prison after admitting to sexually abusing and threatening an underage girl.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of Illinois said a federal grand jury indicted Charles Howard of Champaign in September 2020 with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, possession of child pornography, and commission of a sex offense as a registered sex offender. Howard pleaded guilty in October 2021 to the three-count indictment.

Howard, 41, abused and exploited the girl, 15, who was in his care at the time. He also threatened to kill her and himself if she ever told anyone about the abuse. He was arrested in June 2020 for these crimes.

A U.S. District Court judge said Howard’s actions were “as bad as it gets” and sentenced him to 40 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of parole upon Howard’s release.

Howard already had a pair of convictions for criminal sexual abuse on his record in Champaign County from 2000 and 2001.