A federal jury sitting in Norfolk, Virginia has found a former Navy fighter pilot guilty of 31 counts on a federal indictment, including 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. Defendant Daniel Chase Harris, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and a Navy Top Gun instructor stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, was found guilty after a 12-day trial in the Norfolk Division of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The jury was satisfied with trial evidence and testimony that proved that Harris created fake profiles online, posing as a teenage boy. Using these false personas, he convinced young girls between the ages of 12 and 17 to send him revealing pictures of themselves, some of which contained partial nudity. He then extorted the girls to send him sexually graphic pictures of themselves, threatening them with posting their pictures online or sending the images to family or friends if they refused.
Three of Harris' victims are from Virginia. He was arrested in November 2013 after one of his victims, a 14-year-old girl, reported his threats and demands for sexually explicit photos to her family. Bedford County, Virginia law enforcement, which assisted in investigating the charges, said that Harris communicated with his victims by means of a fake Facebook account.
According to a Virginia Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney, a forensic investigation of a computer at Harris’ home showed that he was also targeting girls across the United States and in Japan.
Harris is scheduled to be sentenced on July 13, 2015 under the federal sentencing guidelines and other relevant factors.
Fighting federal charges can be complicated and time-consuming. One’s personal liberty is almost always at stake, and one can never take the charges or possibility of such charges too seriously. The federal government has vast resources at its disposal to investigate and prosecute federal crimes, and is continually attempting to expand its jurisdiction.
The knowledgeable federal criminal defense attorneys at The Federal Practice Group have an impressive track record off years of experience and hundreds of trials defending clients against allegations of criminal conduct. If you are facing federal criminal charges, contact the experienced federal criminal defense attorneys at The Federal Practice Group for a case evaluation.