BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Washington D.C. man was sentenced to federal prison for sex trafficking of a minor.
Leon Harris, 56, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison followed by lifetime supervised release for having sex with a 15-year-old girl in exchange for money.
Harrison must also register as a sex offender in places where he resides, where he is employed and where he is a student.
According to Harrison’s plea agreement, he used his Facebook account to send messages to hundreds of other Facebook users offering them money in exchange for sexually explicit pictures or meeting with him in person to engage in commercial sex.
Several Facebook users told Harrison they were under the age of 18 and as young as 12. Harrison continued to make requests even after they told him they were minors.
Harrison admitted that he met a girl online and began engaging in commercial sex beginning in 2016 or 2017 when she would have been 13 or 14.
On Oct. 9, 2017, Harrison reconnected on Facebook with the girl after a period of not communicating with each other. At that time, the girl was a 15-year-old high school student in Maryland.
In the Facebook messages, Harrison repeatedly offered to pay the girl between $40 and $60 in exchange for sex.
On Feb. 6, 2018, the girl’s mother discovered the Facebook messages and contacted police. That day, an undercover officer began operating the girl’s Facebook account.
Harrison said he would meet the girl that evening and that he would bring $50 and condoms in exchange for sex.
When Harrison arrived at an agreed location, he was arrested by police. After his arrest, Harrison was interviewed by officers and admitted that he was HIV positive and that he does not disclose that fact to his sexual partners.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.