PHILADELPHIA — A Carbon County, Pennsylvania, man pleaded guilty Thursday to producing child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Pennsylvania State Police.
If convicted, Grant Harris, age 34, Harris faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a potential maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.
Harris, who resided in Albrightsville at the time of the offense, admitted to persuading and enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual image of that conduct.
The crime occurred sometime between 2008 and 2009, when the victim was 8 years old. Harris was indicted by a federal grand jury in November 2015, shortly after special agents and police discovered the child pornography on a computer used by the defendant.
A pre-sentencing investigation is underway and sentencing is scheduled for February 17, 2017. Harris remains detained in prison pending sentencing.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 14,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2015, nearly 2,400 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.
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.