WARWICK, RI — A West Warwick man admitted in federal court Friday that he attempted to solicit a child for indecent purposes near Winslow Park Jan. 5, 2017.
Dylan Harris, 27, admitted that he had sexually explicit online chats with an individual he believed to be a 14-year-old boy. At Harris’ request, he arranged to meet with the boy in Winslow Park near T.F. Green Airport, to have sex with the person, according to Attorney Aaron L. Weisman’s office.
The person Harris thought to be a 14-year-old boy was, in fact, a member of the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Members of the task force confronted, chased and arrested him at about 3 p.m. that day as he fled in his vehicle, then crashed into a wooden guardrail at Winslow Park, reported at the time by WarwickPost.com.
Warwick residents witnessed the chase, and commented on the incident on Facebook minutes after it happened.
On Friday, Harris pleaded guilty to attempted enticement of a minor to engage in prohibited sexual activity, before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. according to United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police Colonel James M. Manni, and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh, according to Weisman’s office.
According to information presented to the Court, in January 2017, a member of the ICAC Task Force was conducting an investigation in the “casual encounters” section of Craig’s List. On Jan. 4, 2017, the agent responded to a posting, later determined to have been posted by Harris, seeking “virgins or inexperienced” guys, Weisman’s office reported, according to Weisman’s office.
The agent posed as a 14-year-old boy, and the two engaged in a series of sexually explicit online conversations during which Harris sent the 14-year-old two photographs depicting his face and one sexually explicit photograph he told the boy was of himself.
The conversation also included discussion about the 14-year old’s school schedule.
At Harris’ request, Harris and the 14-year-old agreed to meet in a secluded park in the vicinity of T.F. Green Airport for sex, according to Weisman’s office.
Harris told the 14-year-old that he would arrive driving a Jeep. Later that afternoon, members of the ICAC Task Force observed a black Jeep Grand Cherokee, with an operator matching the description of Harris, drive into the park at the pre-arranged meeting location.
Police activated their lights and sirens and attempted to initiate a motor vehicle stop. However, Harris made an abrupt left turn and accelerated through a water retention ditch and over a cement parking curb, causing damage to the front end of the black Jeep and flattening one of its tires, according to Weisman’s office.
Harris then turned and accelerated at a high rate of speed in the parking lot. Several police officers exited their vehicles and issued loud verbal commands and hand signals, ordering Harris to stop his vehicle. Still traveling at a high rate of speed, Harris turned his vehicle in the direction of one of the detectives, narrowly missing him and causing the detective to leap out of the way. Harris then accelerated through another water retention ditch, briefly losing control of his vehicle almost striking a chain link fence separating the park and a T.F. Green Airport runway. Harris drove another three-tenths of a mile before losing control of his vehicle and rolling the vehicle onto a grass embankment, Weisman’s office reported.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. McAdams.