A 61-year-old Palm Coast man who previously owned the Jimmy's Hang Ten restaurant in Flagler Beach has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for molesting a child.
James Harris pleaded guilty to multiple charges and was sentenced May 2 by Circuit Judge Terence Perkins.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office had been informed on July 1, 2021, of a sex offense at a residence where Harris was allegedly entering a juvenile’s room naked, touching himself and recording videos in the victim’s room.
Detectives launched an investigation, conducting forensic analysis on Harris' phone. He was arrested on July 2 and held at the county jail on no bond.
He pleaded guilty to Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery on a Person Under 12, Lewd and Lascivious Battery of a Victim Older than 12 Younger than 16, and Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a Person Over 12.
Harris was sentenced to 15 years for each count, to be served concurrently, followed by 15 years of probation.
He is also required to be a registered sex offender for life.
He will reside at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility while awaiting extradition to the Department of Corrections to start his prison sentence.
“I hope this sentencing can bring some closure to the victim and her family,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “I want to again thank our Major Case Unit for all of their hard work in analyzing the evidence that made this conviction and sentence possible. I thank the judge for handing down a tough sentence to this disgusting person. This should also be a warning to sex offenders that if you take a child’s innocence away and abuse them, we will get you and you will go to prison for a very long time!”