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July 14, 2015Norfolk, VA, United StatesChild Exploitation

Former Top Gun instructor to serve 600 months in prison

NORFOLK, Va. – Daniel Chase Harris was sentenced today to 600 months in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, for production of child pornography, use of a facility of interstate commerce to entice a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, receipt of child pornography, transportation of child pornography, possession of child pornography and obstruction of justice.

The 31-year-old former Navy officer was convicted on 31 felony counts by a federal jury after a 12-day trial. U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigated this case, which revealed Harris posed online as a teenage boy and persuaded underage girls to send him risqué photos of themselves. He would then extort these girls to send him additional explicit photos by threatening to post the original photos.

“To see Daniel Chase Harris put away for his crimes is rewarding to the HSI agents and other parties who investigated this case,” said Special Agent in Charge Clark E. Settles of HSI Washington, D.C. “However, we must continue to educate our children about child predators and to help them feel safe enough to report suspicious behavior early on to avoid situations like this in the future.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth M. Yusi and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Wes Nance, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney for Bedford County, prosecuted the case. In pronouncing the sentence, District Judge Mark S. Davis stated Harris’ actions were “sadistic” and equated to “torture.”

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.