Fort Worth

Airline manager tried to meet child for sex in Texas, investigator reports

Ray W. Howland, 55, of Arlington
Ray W. Howland, 55, of Arlington Courtesy

An American Airlines manager from Arlington told a Pennsylvania child predator investigator that he had fantasized about having sex with a mother and daughter for about two years and had tried to meet a family in Texas to have sex with a 12-year-old girl, according to the agent’s report.

Ray W. Howland, 55, remained in the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, accused of trying to arrange online to have sex with a mother and her 10-year-old daughter last week.

An undercover agent from the Pennsylvania attorney general’s Child Predator Unit posed as both mother and daughter in communicating with Howland online, according to a criminal complaint obtained Tuesday by the Star-Telegram.

Howland sent text messages to the agent saying what he would do to the child and arranged to meet the mother and daughter shortly after 8 a.m. Friday after he had breakfast, special agent Duane Tabak said in the complaint.

Instead, Howland was arrested in Moon Township, Pa., near Pittsburgh.

“The actor stated that he was heading in a bad direction and he let himself get caught up in this,” Tabak wrote. “He also stated he couldn’t tell me how ashamed he was.”

Howland is married and has a young adult son and adult daughter, according to Tarrant County records.

He was in Pennsylvania to assist with the airline’s merger with US Airways, the complaint says.

The criminal complaint contained this account:

▪ The investigation by Tabak began Thursday while he was online posing as a 32-year-old woman with a 10-year-old daughter. He saw a classified ad on a website with the title “ Looking for a family or a couple of girls _ m4ww_55(moon).”

▪ The ad stated that someone wanted to meet a mother/daughter or a pair of sisters interested in getting together for a fun night.

▪ The undercover officer and Howland exchanged emails, setting up the encounter.

▪ In one email, Howland wrote, “I love the idea of a mom using me to teach her daughter how to please a man, and of course, I would return the pleasure to both of them as well.”

▪ Howland was adamant in the emails that he didn’t have any law enforcement ties, saying: “I work for an airline as an operational manager. I don’t want to go to jail either.”

In an interview with Tabak after his arrest, Howland acknowledged that he had posted ads like the one the agent found at least twice before without result. He said he had arranged to meet a family in Texas to have sex with a girl, but the family didn’t show up.

Howland indicated that he had posted other ads and had met with adults for sex.

American Airlines officials have said that they are cooperating fully with law enforcement and would not comment on Howland’s case. In a statement, the airline said it holds employees to the “highest level of ethical standards.”

According to his LinkedIn page, Howland has been with American Airlines since 1989, moving from flight dispatcher to various supervisory roles to senior manager for integrated operations control in 2008.

As a front-line supervisor at American’s system operations control center near Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, Howland received some of the first panicked calls from employees at Logan Airport in Boston reporting the hijacking of Flight 11 on 9-11. The calls are mentioned in the notes section of the 9-11 Commission report.

He faces charges of 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, according to the attorney general’s office.

Howland’s bail was set at $150,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 7 in Allegheny County.

This report includes material from The Associated Press.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763

Twitter: @mingoramirezjr