District Man Sentenced to 14-Month Prison Term For Failing to Register as a Sex Offender
WASHINGTON – Joe Harris, also known as Ezekiel Maza, 58, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 14 months in prison on a federal charge of failure to register as a sex offender, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Michael Hughes, U.S. Marshal for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Harris has two prior felony convictions for sex offenses, one from the state of Washington and one from Georgia, which require him to register as a sex offender. According to the government’s evidence, Harris moved from Georgia to the District of Columbia and initially registered as a sex offender in 2008 but did not report back to the registry to update his home and work addresses until 2014, following his arrest in this case. During that time, Harris was able to obtain employment as a home delivery driver with two separate food delivery companies by lying on his employment application regarding his criminal history. Harris also moved to several different residences in the District of Columbia without updating the Registry as to those addresses, one of which was a transitional shelter for previously-homeless women.
Harris pled guilty in November 2014 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of failure to register as a sex offender in violation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). He was sentenced by the Honorable Rosemary M. Collyer. His prison term is to be followed by five years of supervised release.
As part of an overall strategy to combat child exploitation, the U.S. Marshals Service launched a nationwide operation in 2010 to target sex offenders who violate SORNA by knowingly failing to comply with their sex offender registration requirements. SORNA is part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. The Adam Walsh Act also provides for the use of federal law enforcement resources, including the U.S. Marshals Service, to assist states in locating and apprehending non-compliant sex offenders.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen and U.S. Marshal Hughes praised the work of Senior Inspector Floriano Whitwell and other members of the D.C. Superior Court Sex Offender Investigations Section of the U.S. Marshals Service, who investigated the case. He also expressed appreciation for the assistance of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. Finally, he commended the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Troy Griffith and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah McClellan, who prosecuted the case.