The following is a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho. EastIdahoNews.com file photo
POCATELLO — Joseph Lavern Harris, 32, of Rigby, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court to 300 months in prison, for sexual exploitation of a minor child, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ordered that Harris serve a lifetime of supervised release, following his prison sentence. Harris pleaded guilty on March 26.
According to court records, on February 26, 2018, state investigators responded to allegations of child abuse at a residence in Jefferson County where Harris resided. A subsequent investigation discovered that Harris had produced child pornography by sexually abusing a four-year-old child. Investigators obtained a search warrant for Harris’s electronic devices and discovered images of the sexual abuse taken on his phone. In court, Harris admitted that he created the images.
At sentencing, Judge Winmill also ordered Harris to forfeit the cell phone used in the commission of the offense. As a result of his conviction, Harris will be required to register as a sex offender.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations in Idaho Falls and the Jefferson County Sherriff’s Office.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. As part of Project Safe Childhood, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho and the Idaho Attorney General’s Office partner to marshal federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.