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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Monday, March 9, 2015

Former Navy Top Gun Instructor Found Guilty on Charges of Production Child Pornography and Obstruction of Justice

Posed online as a teenage boy to blackmail teens

NORFOLK, Va. – Daniel Chase Harris, 31, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was convicted today by a federal jury after a 12-day trial on 31 counts including production of child pornography, use of a facility of interstate commerce to entice a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, receipt of child pornography, transportation of child pornography, possession of child pornography and obstruction of justice.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Clark Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Washington, D.C.; Randy C. Krantz, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Bedford County; and Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown of the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis.

Harris was indicted by a federal grand jury on a superseding indictment on September 17, 2014.  According to court records and the evidence at trial, Harris was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and a Navy Top Gun instructor stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana and was originally arrested by Bedford County Sheriff’s Office in November 2013.  The investigation and evidence at trial revealed that Harris posed online as a teenage boy and would convince young teen girls between the ages of 12 and 17 to send him risqué pictures of themselves.  He then extorted the girls to send him additional, sexually graphic and explicit images of themselves or he threatened them with posting the images online or sending the images to family or friends. Nine victims were involved in this case, three of whom are from Virginia. 

Harris faces a maximum penalty of life in prison when sentenced on July 13, 2015.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Homeland Security Investigations and the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (SOVA ICAC) led the investigation in this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth M. Yusi and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Wes Nance, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney for Bedford County, are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:14-cr-76.

Updated March 24, 2015