PROVIDENCE – A West Warwick man appeared in federal court in Providence and admitted to attempting to entice a minor boy he communicated with online to meet with him in a Warwick park and to engage in illicit sexual activity.
Dylan Harris, 27, admitted that in January 2017, he engaged in a series of sexually explicit online chats with an individual he believed to be a 14-year-old boy. At Harris’ request, he arranged to meet with the boy in a secluded park in the vicinity of T.F. Green Airport, and to engage in sexual intercourse.
The person Harris thought to be a 14-year-old boy was, in fact, a member of the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., on Friday, Harris pleaded guilty to attempted enticement of a minor to engage in prohibited sexual activity, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police Colonel James M. Manni, and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh.
According to information presented to the Court, in January 2017, a member of the ICAC Task Force was conducting an investigation in the “casual encounters” section of Craig’s List. On January 4, 2017, the agent responded to a posting, later determined to have been posted by Harris, seeking “virgins or inexperienced” guys. The agent posed as a 14-year-old boy. The two engaged in a series of sexually explicit online conversations during which Harris sent the 14-year-old two photographs depicting his face and one sexually explicit photograph he told the boy was of himself.
The conversation also included discussion about the 14-year old’s school schedule.
On January 5, 2017, at Harris’ request, Harris and the 14-year-old agreed to meet in a secluded park in the vicinity of T.F. Green Airport, and to engage in sexual intercourse. Harris told the 14-year-old that he would arrive driving a Jeep. Later that afternoon, members of the ICAC Task Force observed a black Jeep Grand Cherokee, with an operator matching the description of Harris, drive into the park at the pre-arranged meeting location. Police activated their lights and sirens and attempted to initiate a motor vehicle stop. However, Harris made an abrupt left turn and accelerated through a water retention ditch and over a cement parking curb, causing damage to the front end of the black Jeep and flattening one of its tires. Harris then turned and accelerated at a high rate of speed in the parking lot. Several police officers exited their vehicles and issued loud verbal commands and hand signals, ordering Harris to stop his vehicle. Still traveling at a high rate of speed, Harris turned his vehicle in the direction of one of the detectives, narrowly missing him and causing the detective to leap out of the way. Harris then accelerated through another water retention ditch, briefly losing control of his vehicle almost striking a chain link fence separating the park and a T.F. Green Airport runway. Harris drove another three-tenths of a mile before losing control of his vehicle and rolling the vehicle onto a grass embankment.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. McAdams.
The matter was investigated by the ICAC Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations.
Harris is scheduled to be sentenced on September 11, 2019. Attempted enticement of a minor to engage in prohibited sexual activity is punishable by statutory penalties of life imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison; up to lifetime supervised release; a fine of $250,000; and if the Court finds the defendant is not indigent, a $5,000 special assessment.
United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman acknowledges and thanks the Barrington Police Department for their assistance in the investigation of this case.