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Press Release

Alameda County Firefighter Indicted For Possession Of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

OAKLAND - Charles Johnathen Harris made his initial federal court appearance today to face charges that he was in possession of child pornography in violation of federal law, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. Harris appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis A. Westmore.

On March 2, 2023, a federal grand jury handed down the indictment containing the charge against Harris, 42, of Coulterville, Calif., who is employed as a firefighter with Alameda County Fire Department. According to the indictment, Harris is alleged to have possessed images of child pornography on his iPhone, including images of prepubescent children. Additional information about the case was submitted by the government in connection with Harris’s appearance today. Specifically, the case allegedly was initiated after federal authorities received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and an investigation uncovered that Harris allegedly uploaded child pornography over social media platform Kik—even while present at fire stations in Alameda County. 

The defendant surrendered to federal authorities earlier today and was released on bond with the condition that his access to the internet will be restricted. Defendant’s next scheduled appearance is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on April 19, 2023, for status conference before the Honorable Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr., U.S. District Court Judge. 

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years of imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution as ordered by the Court. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Volkar is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Nina Burney and Karina Ruiz. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Jose Police Department, and Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. 

Updated March 7, 2023