Convicted: James Richard Harris, 64, a Belle Glades, Florida, minister, on charges including lewd and lascivious battery, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, promoting sexual performance by a child, and showing obscene material to a minor; i.e., forcing a 15-year-old boy to perform oral sex on him, videotaping the boy masturbating while a porn movie played in the background, and videotaping his 16-year-old godson having sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend.
The Palm Beach Post reports: “The videos also showed sexual activity or naked dancing of several other teens between the ages of 15 and 18 who attend undisclosed high schools in the Glades area and are involved in football. They also told detectives that Harris had claimed he could help them in their college and football careers.”
After the guilty verdict was read and the judge informed Harris he was to be remanded to jail until his sentencing October 5th, Harris tried to commit suicide by downing a handful of unidentified pills. Deputies tackled the minister, who was removed from the court handcuffed to a stretcher, and is now under constant suicide watch.
The sex-crime investigation began in 2009, a few weeks after Harris was arrested on charges of aggravated assault. The night he lost that year’s city commission election in a landslide, he allegedly swung a baseball bat at a woman who was having a conversation with some old friends near a polling place. Apparently angered that she was “talking to [his] people,” Harris reportedly shouted that he was going to “crack some heads,” and: “I’m gonna knock the
Harris’s suicide attempt naturally brings to mind the courtroom suicide of Michael Marin, a 53-year-old, divorced, ex-millionaire Wall Street trader and adrenalin junkie (he even summitted Mount Everest) who was convicted of arson in June, after burning down his three-million-dollar Arizona home (he couldn’t make his next $17,000 mortgage payment, let alone an upcoming $2.3 million balloon payment, and had just fifty bucks left in his bank account) and “escaping” the blaze in a SCUBA suit, complete with oxygen tank.
As the verdict was read, he swallowed cyanide — twice — and a few minutes later experienced a seizure and fell to the floor. He was DOA at the hospital.
Most news stations think the seizure is too “graphic” to show; we don’t, so here’s the full video if you’re curious. (What’s most interesting is how the other men in the courtoom just sit there like bumps on a log, while the women are the ones to jump to Marin’s aid.)
Incidentally, Marin was a pillar of the Mormon community. Or so they thought.
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