Defendant targeted the 13-year-old boy using an internet messaging app

Atlanta–Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., announces the AGGRAVATED CHILD MOLESTATION conviction, by a Fulton County Superior Court Jury, of 38-year-old JOSHUA HARRIS.

On June 11, 2016, Special Agent Haylee Deloach of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in response to an inappropriate conversation between a 13-year-old boy and Joshua Harris, the defendant, on an internet messaging application. The chat between the defendant and the victim began on June 9, 2016, when the victim said he was 13-years-old and gay. At the defendant’s request, the child sent photographs of his penis. In return, Harris sent the victim a picture of his face and his penis. The child also provided his telephone number and home address to the defendant.

Later on June 9, 2016, Harris again messaged the victim to let the child know he was outside of his residence. The two had previously agreed to meet outside the boy’s home and engage in sexual intercourse in Harris’ van; however, the defendant was scared off and drove away from the house when the victim’s grandfather returned to the residence. Several days later, in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, Harris returned to the victim’s home in his van. The boy met the defendant outside the home and Harris kissed the victim on the cheek. The defendant and the teen entered his van and drove to the end of the street where they parked. At that time, Harris and the victim engaged in sexual acts, including anal and oral sex. When Harris committed this crime, he was already on probation for a 2005 Aggravated Child Molestation conviction in Walton County for which the defendant had only been out of prison for less than a year. In that case, Harris also targeted a teenage victim using an internet messaging application.

Following a forensic interview with the victim, a search warrant was executed at Harris’ home on July 25, 2016. During the execution of this warrant, the defendant stated he targeted his victims using two different internet messaging applications. Special Agent Deloach asked Harris if he had ever engaged in sexual relations with someone he knew to be a child, and the defendant nodded and said,

“I made a mistake.”

 HARRIS was convicted of AGGRAVATED CHILD MOLESTATION, ELECTRONICALLY FURNISHING OBSCENE MATERIAL TO MINORS, CRIMINAL ATTEMPT TO COMMIT CHILD MOLESTATION, ENTICING A CHILD FOR INDECENT PURPOSES, AND SEXUAL BATTERY.  

 Harris was sentenced to LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE.

 Judge Eric Dunaway, of the Superior Court of Fulton County, presided over the case. Assistant District Attorney Shaniqua Christian led the prosecution of the case. She was assisted by Assistant District Attorney Siri Patel, Investigator Raeisha Oliphant, and Victim-Witness-Advocate Alicia Grey of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Special Agent Haylee Deloach of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations was the Lead Investigator in this case.