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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 20, 2019

Rush County Special Sheriff’s Deputy and Rushville fireman charged with sexual exploitation of a child

Harr is alleged to have produced, distributed, and possessed images and videos of child pornography depicting multiple victims

Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that Philip Michael Harr, 29, Rushville, Indiana, was charged by criminal complaint with Sexual Exploitation of a Child, and Distributing and Possessing Child Pornography. Harr had his initial appearance in the United States District Court on Thursday, September 19, 2019.  

“Public officials are entrusted to perform their work duties and to serve the community without committing criminal conduct on the job,” said Minkler. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to identifying and prosecuting individuals who utilize social media and other vehicles to exploit innocent children.”

According to the allegations in the court documents, Harr used a social media application to pose as a teenage girl, and solicit images and videos depicting at least two minor victims engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The alleged victims were from Mississippi and Indiana. Harr used the same media application to allegedly distribute, receive, and possess images and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. 

Harr allegedly engaged in much of this alleged criminal conduct while on duty as a Rush County Special Sherriff’s Deputy and a Rushville, Indiana fireman. Harr was also employed by the Rush County Government as a courtroom security officer and dispatcher. Harr is alleged to have misused his position of public trust by using a law enforcement database to conduct searches for one of his minor victims.

This investigation was jointly conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Rush County Sheriff’s Department.

A spokesperson for the Rush County Sheriff’s Department said, “Our department would like to thank everyone involved in this investigation. Officers worked tirelessly to bring charges against Mr. Harr and seek justice for his victims.” 

According to Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany J. Preston who is prosecuting this case for the government, Harr faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of 30 years’ imprisonment if convicted on all counts.

A criminal complaint is merely a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in federal court.

If you believe you have been a victim of Philip Michael Harr, please contact the Indianapolis FBI Office at https://tips.fbi.gov/ or call 317-595-4000 to make a report.

In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to utilize and partner with law enforcement agencies to prosecute individuals engaged in the sexual exploitation of children. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Section 4.1.

Updated September 20, 2019