A former teacher at a high school in Babylon, New York, has pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child after it was revealed he engaged in sex with a 15-year-old almost ten years ago.
"This defendant abused his role as an educator and preyed on a teenaged student. Instead of being a teacher, he took advantage of her," Tierney said.
"The courage shown by this young woman in reporting this crime even though it had occurred eight years earlier is amazing. This guilty plea ensures that Harrison will no longer be a teacher, and as such, current and future students will be protected from his predatory behavior."
During the investigation, it was discovered that between September and November 2013, Harrison sent the 15-year-old child flirtatious text messages, provided her with alcohol, and had sexual intercourse and oral sexual conduct with her at his Oak Beach home.
The victim reportedly told Babylon High School about the abuse in 2021 before going to the Suffolk County Police Department's Special Victim Section, per the report.
As a result, Harrison was arrested in March 2022.
Harrison appeared before Suffolk County Court Judge Karen M. Wilutis on Friday, where he pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of the child. The crime is a misdemeanor in the state of New York.
He is set to be sentenced in court on November 9.
"We urge anyone who feels they have been sexually abused to come forward and report these crimes no matter how long ago they occurred," Tierney said. "We are thankful that this victim stepped forward as reporting predators will protect others."
Newsday reported that Harrison's attorney, Kevin Keating, said on Friday: "Mr. Harrison was charged with several felony counts which we were eagerly prepared to defend at his upcoming trial. The district attorney offered a single misdemeanor to resolve the case, a path Mr. Harrison accepted to put this matter behind him for the good of his family.”
Harrison's indictment comes after allegations made in October 2021 by former students who claim that they were sexually harassed and abused by other teachers in the Babylon school district.
Soon after these allegations were made, the district hired former Suffolk County prosecutor Chris Powers to investigate the accusations and subsequently placed five teachers, including Harrison, on paid administrative leave.
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