Sheriff's Office: Belle Glade Activist Forced Football Players into Sex Acts

CBS 12
April 15, 2009

BELLE GLADE — A well-known city activist is charged with sexual battery after an investigation revealed that he was cooercing teenaged football players into sex acts at his home by promising them access to recruiters and college scouts.

According to the arrest report, Rev. Richard Harris allowed teenagers to go to his house to lift weights and have sex with their girlfriends while he filmed it.

The crimes were revealed after his home was burglarized last month. The thieves played videos stolen from Harris' home and recognized their peers performing sex acts in the videos, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

According to the arrest report, one of the victims was 15 when Harris put on a pornography video and performed oral sex on the boy. The boy told investigators he endured it by focusing on his potential football career. That student moved away from Belle Glade due to embarassment when the tapes surfaced last month and rumors began to spread at his school.

In an unrelated case, Harris was also arrested on election day for allegedly threatening an opponent with a baseball bat at a polling place. A political gadfly, he was running for city commission and lost.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, he was arrested at 9:20 this morning in the Brandon area. He was found sleeping in his car and he was arrested on a warrant for several charges including lewd and lascivious molestation and promoting the sexual performance of a child. He remains jailed there without bail.


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