Rigby man pleads guilty to sexually exploiting 4-year-old
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POCATELLO — A Rigby man has pleaded guilty to federal charges of sexually exploiting a 4-year-old girl.
Joseph Lavern Harris, 31, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pocatello on March 27, 2018, for producing child pornography. He pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting a minor under 16 one year later on Wednesday.
Harris said in court he coerced a young girl to take part in sexually explicit conduct to create pornography.
In April 2018, Jefferson County detectives, with the assistance of a Bonneville County detective, obtained a warrant to search a home on Broadway in Idaho Falls on March 6. Deputies confiscated three mobile devices from the residence where they found a disturbing image of the child engaging in a sex act with Harris.
Harris was originally charged in Jefferson County, but Prosecutor Paul Butikofer dropped all local charges against Harris when he was federally indicted in March 2018.
Harris faces 15 to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for June 18, 2019.
Harris’ wife, Elizabeth Dawn Evans, 27, was also federally indicted and has pleaded guilty to possession of sexually explicit images of a minor.
The pornographic images of the young girl and Harris were taken by Evans. Detectives also discovered Evans had sent a nude photo of herself and Harris along with a text message to an older female relative inviting her to join the couple and the child for sex.
Both Evans and Harris admitted to being high during the incident.
Evans faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 find. She will be sentenced on May 28, 2019.