An Army Reserve colonel is charged with child sex crimes in three different states, including new accusations made public Friday by Florida authorities, according to local news reports and police statements.
Col. David Harris, an infantry officer also qualified as a foreign area officer for the 76th Operational Response Command, works as a supervisory special agent for the FBI, according to a Louisiana State Patrol release. He was working for the FBI’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit in Baltimore when the investigation began in February 2021, The Advocate reported.
The release said investigators found evidence “of criminal acts by Harris involving both adult and juvenile victims with incidents occurring as far back as 2016.″
Harris has pleaded not guilty to all charges thus far. He remains in jail without bond.
The Louisiana State Patrol release also detailed a slew of charges for Harris in three different parishes.
“Harris was arrested in Ascension Parish and booked on charges of Aggravated Crimes Against Nature and Indecent Behavior with Children under the age of 13,” the release reads. “Upon release from Ascension Parish Jail, Harris will be booked on outstanding warrants in Orleans Parish for Sexual Battery and Attempted 3rd Degree Rape and warrants in East Baton Rouge Parish for Aggravated Crimes Against Nature, Indecent Behavior with Juveniles, Obscenity, and Witness Intimidation.”
In the weeks and months since the Louisiana State Patrol announced his initial arrest, Harris has been charged with similar crimes in Florida and Texas.
Texas authorities charged him with exposing himself to two teenage girls on multiple occasions, according to KETK. Harris was reportedly having an affair with the mother of one of the girls, too.
And Friday, Florida authorities issued an arrest warrant for Harris on indecent exposure charges related to a 2019 incident while on vacation there.
The alleged offenses
The investigation began with a complaint to the Department of Justice’s inspector general office from the father of one of Harris’ alleged victims, KETK reported. The father discovered the alleged crimes when he found communications between Harris and his wife, with whom the FBI agent was reportedly having an affair.
An arrest warrant obtained by KETK details the alleged incidents that led to the Texas and Florida charges.
The girl’s mother told investigators that she thought Harris had exposed himself to her daughter both at her home in Texas and at Harris’ home in Louisiana, including a skinny dipping incident.
The girl claimed to police that Harris had stripped nude and climbed on top of her in her bed in 2018, the warrant said. He got up and left after she screamed.
According to the warrant, Harris allegedly exposed himself to a second girl while his family was vacationing with the first girl’s family in Florida. He reportedly stripped his clothes off and got into a swimming pool with her, the warrant said.
The warrant details how Harris sent text messages after the incidents from his FBI-issued phone describing his sexual preference for teenage girls to the girl’s mother.
“I mean they have to be in their teens. I’m not a weirdo,” he said, according to the warrant.
Harris’ attorneys disputed the allegations in a statement to The Advocate.
“David Harris is a 1992 West Point graduate who has served this country honorably in the Army and the FBI for the past 30 years. There are many facts surrounding this investigation that differ significantly from the narrative law enforcement has disseminated through the media,” said his attorneys Craig Mordock and Elizabeth Carpenter.
Army Reserve officials said the matter was in the hands of civilian authorities — for now.
“The incident is currently under investigation by the Louisiana State Police and the Army Reserve will cooperate with civil authorities in the course of their investigation,” Army Reserve spokesperson Lt. Col. Simon Flake told Army Times.
“The Army Reserve takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and continues to monitor the situation,” said Flake. “The case will be reviewed further and decisions will be made as to administrative or disciplinary action, consistent with Army Regulations, at the appropriate time.”
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.