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District Attorney Hoovler Announces Child Pornography Arrest After Joint Investigation Led by Orange County District Attorney’s Office Digital Forensics Unit
Goshen Man Charged with Possessing a Sexual Performance by a Child
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on November 21, 2023 James Harris, age 71, of Goshen, was arrested by the Village of Goshen Police Department and charged with Possessing a Sexual Performance by a Child. Under New York State bail reform laws passed in 2019, the offense charged is not bail eligible and therefore the defendant was issued a desk appearance ticket returnable for a later date.
As alleged by the police, Harris traded online in child pornography, including videos and pictures of children engaged in sexual activity with adults. This activity was flagged by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office Digital Forensics Unit (“DFU”) through the use of specialized investigative techniques that identified the transfer of these files. Once the DFU identified the activity, they worked with the Village of Goshen Police Department to locate the source of the material. A judicially-authorized search warrant was executed at Harris’s residence where law enforcement officers seized cellular telephones, tablets and computers which, after a forensic examination, were found to contain child pornography.
The collaborative investigation which led to the arrest involved not only the DFU but also the Village of Goshen Police Department because local agencies in these types of investigations will provide for a more thorough investigation due to the intimate knowledge of their population while the DFU can provide the required technical and investigative expertise for these types of investigations. Also assisting in the investigation and arrest were the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations unit and their electronic sniffing dog that was used during the search warrant execution.
The DFU, which was created in July, 2023, is dedicated to searching for and analyzing digital evidence retrieved from devices such as cellular telephones, computers and vehicles that have been taken into evidence by police agencies throughout Orange County. The unit is patterned after similar units that exist in the Manhattan and Bronx County District Attorney’s Offices. In addition to searching devices already in evidence, the unit’s staff will also use their extensive experience to aid other Orange County police agencies by: assisting at crime scenes; conducting child exploitation investigations; and, by conducting specialized video DVR extractions. The DFU is led by a Senior Investigator and staffed by two additional full time District Attorney Investigators who collectively have more than 80 years of law enforcement experience and 1500 hours of specialized training in digital forensics and child exploitation investigations.
The DFU has also registered as an affiliate of the New York State Internet Crimes against Children Task Force (ICAC). The DFU has entered into partnerships with ICAC on a New York State and National level to effectively investigate these horrendous crimes in Orange County and to assist local law enforcement partners with ICAC investigations within their jurisdictions.
“Children are the most vulnerable and innocent of victims,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “It requires the coordinated and dedicated efforts of law enforcement to track down child pornography that is possessed and disseminated in our community. I know that the resources allocated to the DFU are vital to assisting our local law enforcement partners in these complicated investigations. Those who choose to engage in this behavior should take heed that we will not cease in our pursuit of these crimes.”
Police implore anyone with information related to this case, or with any other relevant information related to the defendant, to come forward and please call the Village of Goshen Police Department at 845-294-7988.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael Purcell.
A criminal charge is merely an allegation by the police that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.