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Press Release

Man Sentenced to Over 50 Years for Sexual Abuse of Neighborhood Child

November 20, 2019

(Anchorage, AK) - Superior Court Judge Erin Marston sentenced Paul Harris to serve 52.5 years on multiple counts of Sexual Abuse of a Minor in the First Degree.

Assistant District Attorneys Betsy Bull and LuAnn Martin established at trial that Harris sexually abused a neighbor child under the guise of taking her for a ride on his mobility scooter. Harris took the child up the road and then into a wooded area adjacent to the sidewalk where the abuse occurred. 

The child disclosed the abuse to her father, who immediately called police. Harris also called police, asking for help because he feared the child’s father was going to hurt him. During Harris’s call to 911, Harris admitted he sexually abused the child and that he knew she was very young. 

At sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Bull asked the court to impose 52.5 years to serve because Harris “is every parent’s worst nightmare” and has no prospects for rehabilitation.

Because of his lengthy criminal history, Harris faced a sentencing range of 40 to 60 years to serve. In sentencing Harris to 52.5 years, Judge Marston noted that this case was incredibly serious and involved a stranger taking advantage of an innocent child. Judge Marston observed that Harris’s criminal history of 19 prior convictions began in 1985 and has been accelerating to more serious crimes ever since, and emphasized that the Legislature has spoken loud and clear on appropriate sentences for people who commit these horrendous crimes.

The Anchorage District Attorney’s Office thanks the victim’s family, who participated in trial and sentencing on behalf of the minor child, for their courage throughout the proceedings, and thanks the Anchorage Police Department, particularly Detective Deven Cunningham, for the hard work in investigating the case.

More information about the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office is available at http://www.law.alaska.gov/department/criminal/adao.html.

CONTACT: Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Betsy Bull at (907) 269-6300 or bonnie.bull@alaska.gov.

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Department Media Contact: Assistant Attorney General Maria Bahr at (907) 269-5285 or maria.bahr@alaska.gov