Navy pilot in Va. faces child pornography charges

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Mike Gooding, 13News Now

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Updated Friday, May 9 at 7:34 PM

NORFOLK -- A Navy pilot accused of online pornography crimes allegedly involving children will remain behind bars. 

A U.S. District Court Magistrate judge declined a defense motion to release Lt. Daniel Harris to his parents in Annapolis, Maryland.

Harris, 30, is accused of "terrorizing" young girls online, according to the U.S. Attorney's presentation during a detention hearing Friday at Federal court in Norfolk. 

The government laid out its case, accusing Harris of using electronic communications devices to facilitate offenses against up to eight children between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. Harris allegedly demanded sexually explicit pictures. 

A Department of Homeland Security investigator testified about evidence that was gathered during a search of Harris's Virginia Beach home last fall, including images which allegedly portray Skype conversations between a person purported to be Harris and a young victim.

The defense presented an entirely different picture. Harris's mother, Judy Douglas, described her son as the former quarterback and captain of his high school football team, and as a member of the lacrosse team at the United States Naval Academy. She called him a "thoughtful, caring, wonderful son and husband."

Harris is in weapons-training school at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. He's still employed by the Navy but not receiving pay during confinement.

Defense attorney Andrew Sacks said Harris "has years of achievements. He was accepted at both the Naval Academy and West Point. He got into Top Gun School early. Everything he's done has indicated a true leader, a true mentor.  All of the people who know him say there's never been an indication of anything other than the most honorable man and I think that speaks to his innocence."

In the end, the magistrate ordered Harris returned to jail in Bedford County. No trial date has been set. The next step in the legal process will be a true bill of indictment, which is expected within 30 days.

 

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