2007 case resolved with plea dealPublished 9:18pm Tuesday, April 30, 2013
An indecent liberties case dating from 2007 was resolved Monday in Beaufort County Superior Court.
Darrell Lee Harrell pleaded guilty to three counts of taking indecent liberties with a child — for each count, the plea bargain stipulates a sentence of a minimum of 16 months and a maximum of 20 months to be served consecutively in the North Carolina Department of Corrections.
Harrell was arrested in October of 2007 after the victim, now a teenager, came forward to authorities in Florida, where he was living at the time. According to Assistant District Attorney Chad Stoop, during interviews with Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office investigators, Harrell admitted to the allegations, but refused to sign a statement attesting to the fact.
According to the prosecution, Harrell, then 19 years old, forced the 11-year-old, male victim to perform sexual acts on him when they were “hanging out” alone.
In court Monday, Harrell accepted the plea bargain, though when asked if he was guilty of the crimes by Superior Court Judge Russell Duke Jr., he replied in the negative, however, he said “it was in his best interests” to accept the plea deal.
If found guilty, the maximum sentence for the six original counts against Harrell would have been much more substantial, but Harrell’s accuser — who was present and accompanied by his grandfather — was satisfied with the resolution of the case because Harrell “would be held accountable,” according to the prosecution.
After the jail term, Harrell will serve five years probation because “of the seriousness of the charges,” said Duke. During that time, Harrell can not have contact with the victim; associate with individuals under the age of 18 unless accompanied by an adult who knows of his conviction; have contact with other sex offenders, possess materials of a sexual nature, or have access to the Internet.
Harrell must also participate in sex abuse treatment and undergo psychological evaluations as conditions of his probation.