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Child Exploitation

Indiana man sentenced to 28 years for producing child pornography

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — An Indiana man was sentenced Monday to 28 years in federal prison for producing child pornography. This lengthy sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

John Harris, 46, of Elkhart, Ind., was sentenced Dec. 5 in the Northern District of Indiana to 326 months imprisonment and a lifetime of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of the sexual exploitation of children.

The investigation into Harris's conduct began in September 2010, when law enforcement working in an undercover capacity used a publicly available peer-to-peer file sharing program to download multiple video files depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The results of an administrative subpoena issued to the internet service provider of the user identified the subscriber as John Harris. A federal search warrant was subsequently obtained and executed at Harris' residence, where law enforcement found child pornography on his computer.

In his plea agreement Harris admitted that in August 2009 he induced and enticed Jane Doe No. 1, a minor, to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct. Specifically, he took sexually explicit photographs of Jane Doe No. 1 using his cell phone. He admitted that Jane Doe No. 1 was a minor under his care or supervisory control. Furthermore, one or more of these sexually explicit photographs of Jane Doe No. 1 were transmitted to another minor, Jane Doe No. 2, by texting them to her using his cell phone.

The sentence was also based on Harris' inducement and enticement of Jane Doe No. 2 and another minor, Jane Doe No. 3, to produce child pornography. It was further aggravated by the defendant's feigning incompetence for more than a year, and his having placed images of acquaintances online that showed their faces superimposed on top of nude bodies.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Maciejczyk, Northern District of Indiana, prosecuted the case.

This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline 1-866-DHS-2ICE and its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.