CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A 46-year-old man was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted Wednesday on three counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, according to the Ninth Circuit Solicitor's Office.
Maurice Harris was found guilty by a Charleston County jury of two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said.
Wilson said her office is grateful the judge delivered the maximum sentence.
The charges were in reference to a sexual assault that took place in the summer of 2013, she said.
Investigators said the victim, who was then 12 years old, was spending time in Harris's home when Harris initiated a pattern of sexual abuse that included fondling and sexual batteries over the course of the summer. The sexual abuse was committed in front of and witnessed by an 8-year-old child in the home," solicitors say.
"This molester is off the streets because two children had the courage and support to speak up for themselves," Assistant Solicitor Shannon Elliot said. "Without their bravery, this man would never have been held accountable for the crimes."
The assault came to light during a DSS investigation initiated at the request of a school employee, Wilson said.
"The children were remarkable in their resilience," Wilson said.
Harris had a prior record that included criminal domestic violence and burglary, the release states.