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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Daniel Harris Sentenced to Eighteen Years in Prison for Sex Crimes Against Children

pastor Daniel Harris

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Daniel Harris, pastor of Olive Branch Christian Church in Olive Branch, Mississippi, recently pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eighteen years in prison for sex crimes against children.

DeSoto County News reports:

DeSoto County District Attorney Matthew Barton has announced that former Mississippi pastor and educator Daniel Harris has pleaded guilty to charges relating to sex crimes against children as far back as 2015.

He was ordered to serve 18 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections without the possibility of parole or early release. In addition to his probation and jail sentence, Harris will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his adult life and no longer serve as an educator.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, the investigation revealed that between 2015 and 2018, Harris continuously molested teenagers while under his care as a tutor, pastor, and authority figure.

A victim of Harris’ actions came forward after revealing the incident that took place during his childhood to another family member. The initial victim’s testimony then helped other victims come forward. Harris was arrested on May 4, 2023.

“Instead of being a pastor and educator, Harris used his position of trust to violate the innocence of children to fulfill his reprehensible desires,” Barton said. “The plea will ensure that other children will be shielded from this child predator while sparing a lengthy court process for the victims who endured horrendous abuse at the hands of Daniel Harris. People like this have no place in society and my office will continue to partner with federal, local, and state law enforcement to ensure nefarious individuals like this are behind bars and their victims receive justice.”

If you or someone you know has been a victim of child abuse, please call your local law enforcement agency to report the incident.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Ben Weathers, with investigative assistance from Lt. Ashley Holladay of the Olive Branch Police Department and criminal investigators from the District Attorney’s Office.

At the time of his arrest, Harris was listed as a pastor at Olive Branch Christian Church. The church’s website at the time said he founded the Kaimen Center, teaching arts, athletics and academics to children and adults with disabilities.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Ugh ! This Daniel Harris guy, what a shame it took so long to catch him! And in his booking photo, he looks very smug and amused, as if he’s laughing. Maybe he is. But after being behind bars for a while, he may not feel like laughing much. Let what happened to Harris be a warning to anyone else trying to get away with similar behavior.

  2. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Yulya–I agree. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a priest, I find his seeming smugness as offensive as the crimes he committed.

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