Harris pleads guilty to child rape

Jacob Smith • Apr 11, 2018 at 5:03 PM

Ronald David Harris, 47, of Lebanon, pleaded guilty to rape of a child March 29 and received a 25-year sentence.

According to Assistant District Attorney Tom Swink, Harris will be placed on the sex offender registry as a violent offender and will be subject to community supervision for life.

On Aug. 22, 2016, the mother of the then-15-year-old victim reported to the LaVergne Police Department that her husband, Harris, stepfather to the victim, had a sexual relationship with the victim.

The previous day, while doing laundry at their Rutherford County home, the mother found an external hard drive hidden in a pair of Harris’ swim trunks in one of his dresser drawers.

The victim’s mother, curious to find out what might be stored on the hard drive, plugged it into a computer at her home and found the contents included naked images of the victim, as well as pictures of the defendant engaged in sex acts with the victim. The mother gave the hard drive to LaVergne police detectives, who then got a search warrant for Harris’ Rutherford County home.

On Aug. 23, 2016, the victim was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center in Rutherford County. During the interview, the victim talked about multiple sex acts between her and the defendant in both Wilson and Rutherford counties. The victim was less than 13 years old while living in the Lebanon area when Harris had sex with her at their Wilson County home.

The first incident happened on or about Aug. 5, 2013 when the victim was 12 years old and Harris was 42. Pictures recovered corroborate the statements made by the victim.

Harris was interviewed by LaVergne police officers Aug. 22, 2016, the day of the search of the home, and admitted to having sex with the girl. While Harris was in jail, he wrote multiple letters to the victim and her mother, and made statements corroborating the allegations.

Harris’ 25-year sentence in Wilson County will run concurrent with a 30-year sentence he received in Rutherford County.

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