On August 6, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Reginald "Rock" Harris and his wife, Dia, were arrested and charged with molesting a young relative of theirs from 1999 to 2002. However, they would have been brought to justice a lot sooner, had the victim not been pressured into keeping quiet about it by members of her family and her church.
The abuse started when the victim was eight. For the next three years, she reached out to members of her family and church to tell them what the Harrises were doing to her. However, they discouraged her from going to the police--ostensibly out of fear that Reginald Harris would lose his job and/or be sent to prison. She finally summoned the courage to tell a social worker about her ordeal in 2009, and with her help reported it to the police. However, she was pressured into recanting under pressure from members of her family and church. The victim, now in her 20s, filed a new complaint in July, and this time didn't back down.
Police say that they seriously considered charging the church and family members with obstruction of justice. It's hard to see why they held off on doing so. It’s one thing to simply ignore a child when he or she tells you that something bad happened. But to actively discourage a child from going to the police is absolutely heinous. By their actions, a sexual predator was allowed to remain at large for almost a decade and a half.
If the Harrises are convicted on all charges, they could spend the rest of their lives in prison. But they're not the only ones who need to be before a judge for this. Every effort should be made to ensure that anyone and everyone who pressured this girl into keeping quiet is brought up on criminal charges.
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