PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – A former airline executive who handled emergency calls during the 9/11 attacks is facing new charges in a sex sting case.
He was busted in a local undercover sting but he could face more severe penalties now that the feds are involved.
On Friday, Ray Howland, an American Airlines executive, was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia, and charged in federal court with attempted coercion of a child for sex.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General filed charges against Howland in June, but turned over their case to the feds, technically withdrawing their case originally scheduled for a hearing today.
“Typically, when you have anyone crossing state lines, anyone dealing with a juvenile on a telecommunications device whether an iPad, phone to contact someone under the age of 18 for the allegations of having sex, then the feds will step in and that’s what they did at this point,” defense attorney Frank Walker said.
Walker said Howland is seeking treatment, but would say little else.
“No, not at this point. Right now, he’s just awaiting trial. He’s awaiting his arraignment and processing in the federal system. He’s seeking treatment down in Atlanta and he’s looking forward to his processing in Pittsburgh,” Walker said.
He could face a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence in the federal case.
In June, Howland was arrested in Moon Township. Detectives say Howland advertised himself online saying, “I’d love to find a mother/daughter pair (or more) of sisters, or a couple of young women that were interested in getting together for some fun tonight.”
An undercover agent responded to his ad saying, “Hey 31 yo single mom with young daughter. HMU and let me (k)now what you are interested in.”
“Essentially, the defendant was chatting with an undercover agent and he set up a meet for sex with a 10-year-old girl,” Deputy Attorney General Anthony Marmo said.
Agents say Howland responded saying, “I’ve had a fantasy of being with a mom and daughter for a long time. I love the idea of a mom using me to teach her daughter how to please a man.”
The agent responded with, “My daughter is 10, is 10 too young for you?”
Howland responded, “I’m fine with her age, as long as you both are.”
During the investigation, Howland also sent explicit text messages and emails detailing the sexual activities he wished to engage in.
Howland was initially charged with criminal attempt to commit rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, criminal attempt to commit indecent assault and criminal use of a communication facility.
Transcripts show Howland telling panicked Boston employees to keep quiet about the Flight 11 hijacking minutes before the jetliner struck the World Trade Center. He’s mentioned in the footnotes of the 9/11 Commission report.
Howland is set to be in Pittsburgh for federal arraignment next week.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)