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Former Mariner High teacher sentenced to 11 years for sexually assaulting a student

Posted at 10:36 AM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-18 18:57:27-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A former Mariner High School teacher and coach has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for sexually assaulting a student.

James Harris was in court Monday, to face accusations of sexually assaulting a student.

He pleaded guilty to the charge of Sexual Activity with a Child with an enhancement to the charge of “Being in a Position of Custodial Authority.”

"He violated the trust of everyone in the community: the teachers that he worked with, the students, the faculty," said state prosecutor Michael Colombo.

Harris in court.jpg
James Harris in Lee County court on February 18, 2019.

According to police, Harris would often pick the student up in his car and bring the teen to a home in Cape Coral. Investigators believe the two started texting over the summer.

That relationship turned sexual in November of that year. The report indicates Harris had sex with the student at least eight times between November and February 1st, both in his home and in the classroom.

In a statement read by state prosecutors Monday, the victim's family said it's been an extremely long and trying two years. "The game you played with your victims over the years was way too easy for way too long until you finally got caught...our daughter was not your first victim, but we hope and pray that she is the last."

Following his prison term, Harris will have 48 months of sexual predator probation and lifetime registration as a sexual predator.

This wasn't Harris's first sexual encounter with a Mariner High School student. Back in 2008, a police report says Harris engaged in sexual activity with one of his students, and following the student's graduation in May, she had his baby.