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KETCHUM -- A central Idaho actor who authorities say had sexual encounters with a 14-year-old girl has been charged with rape and lewd conduct with a child under 16.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports that 31-year-old Dawson Howard was charged Tuesday in 5th District Court. He was released that same day after posting a $30,000 bond.

Police say Howard began an online relationship with the girl in July of 2011 and the sexual encounters occurred about a month later.

Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey says Howard on Aug. 20, 2011, picked the girl up at a parking lot in Sun Valley and drove her to a house in Ketchum where he was house-sitting.

Howard is known in the area for his numerous appearances in theatrical and musical productions.

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