LONG ISLAND, N.Y. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents arrested last night Stuart Harris, a 27 years old man and an international fugitive, in Shoreham, New York for overstaying his visa. Harris is also wanted by the United Kingdom (UK) authorities on charges of sexual assault of a child under the age of 13.
Authorities in the UK have been looking for Harris since January 2008, when he fled to the United States seeking to avoid prosecution for allegedly abusing at least five chlildren who were members of the Boy Scouts in the UK.
Harris was arrested without incident in Suffolk County after ICE agents received a referral that originated from an INTERPOL report. According to the INTERPOL report, in September 2007 a 10 year-old Boy Scout in the UK came forward accusing Harris of sexually abusing him. Harris was interviewed by the South Wales Police regarding the accusations and a search warrant was executed at his UK residence. Wales PD seized several of his computers for forensic examination. Soon after the first allegations were made by the first victim at least four other boy scouts have also come forward alleging that Harris had sexually abused them.
In the United States Harris was employed as an au pair to care for the minor children of a family residing in Shoreham, NY. Upon learning the severity of the criminal allegations made against Harris, ICE agents in Long Island quickly deployed agents to locate and apprehend Harris at the Shorham residence. In addition to arresting Harris on immigration violation charges, ICE agents also seized a computer, a laptop, DVDs, various documents, identification cards and other electronic devices that belong to Harris for forensic analysis. The investigation is ongoing.
"This case is particularly disturbing because of the subjects position of trust and access to young people, but it also undercores the cooperation and commitment we share with our law enforcement partners to search for criminals that threaten our most cherished resource: our children," said Peter Smith, Special Agent-in-Charge, of the Office of Investigations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New York City. "It is very important for ICE to work closely with our federal, state, local and international law enforcement partners, particularly in matters of public safety."
Stuart Harris is the second ICE arrest this week after INTERPOL notified law enforcement agencies about an individual's alleged sexual criminal exploitation of a minor. Wayne Nelson Corliss, 58, was also arrested this week by ICE agents in Newark, NJ after INTERPOL reached out to the public with a global appeal for any information leading to the arrest of Corliss. Corliss, who was photographed sexually abusing young children in Southeast Asia in images distributed on the Internet was identified, located and arrested by ICE agents based in Newark, NJ within less than 48-hours of INTERPOL's notice.
The public is urged to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity to ICE through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE.