Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017 11:44 AM

MAN SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR SEX TRAFFICKING GIRL

(Cocoa, FL)—A 24-year old man convicted in federal court for sex trafficking of a child and production of child pornography was sentenced to 30-years in prison for his crimes. Kennedy Harris, Jr., was sentenced late Monday in Orlando. He was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release, is a registered sexual predator and was ordered to pay $10,000 restitution. “We are very pleased with the outcome in this case,” said Detective Ben Erskine who, with then Agents Doug Monda and Nick Moon, began the investigation that led to the federal case. “This sends a very strong message to other potential suspects that these types of cases have gotten the attention of the federal court system. The penalties are now becoming more severe for those engaging in this type of exploitation of young girls.”

The investigation began with an anonymous tip about a known drug dealer later identified as Harris. The information received led detectives and agents with the Special Investigations Unit to unravel the exploitation and sexual trafficking of a 16-year-old girl who was listed as a runaway. The investigation revealed she was held against her will and forced to engage in sexual activity with as many as eight men a day for approximately two weeks before she was located. The victim was also given crack cocaine every day. Because the victimization occurred in multiple jurisdictions, Detective Erskine contacted the FBI. The case was subsequently investigated by the FBI, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and the Cocoa Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany L. Cummins and was brought forth as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. “This is something the victim has to live with for the rest of her life,” Detective Erskine added. “She is going to need a lot of help to recover and lead a normal productive life. Hopefully this sentence prevents others from being victimized in the same manner.”

Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. In addition to the federal charges, Harris is still facing felony drug charges through the Brevard State Attorney’s Office. His trial date is pending.