NC detention officer charged with multiple sex crimes for assaulting transgender inmate

Kyle Harris had been suspended pending an investigation since May 21


By Michael Gordon
The Charlotte Observer
        
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Mecklenburg County detention officer implicated last month in the alleged sexual assault of a transgender inmate was arrested Monday and charged with multiple sex crimes.

Court records indicate that detention officer Kyle Harris of Charlotte was arrested by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police at 12:30 p.m. near Archdale Road and South Boulevard, police say. The 28-year-old was released on $60,000 unsecured bond, records indicate.

According to his arrest warrant, Harris is charged with:

COs keep watch in a hallway on the second floor of the Mecklenburg County Jail in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kyle Harris had served as a detention officer with the facility since August 2017.
COs keep watch in a hallway on the second floor of the Mecklenburg County Jail in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kyle Harris had served as a detention officer with the facility since August 2017. (Todd Sumlin/Charlotte Observer)
  • Three counts of second degree sexual offense.
  • One count of attempted second degree sexual offense.
  • Two counts of sexual battery.
  • One count of a sexual act by a government employee.

Under N.C. law, second-degree sexual offense is a felony involving a sex act against a person's will or if the person has a mental disability or is physically helpless.

Harris has no previous criminal history, according to an Observer public records search.

Mecklenburg Sheriff Garry McFadden announced Harris's firing Monday afternoon.

"All employees of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office are required to demonstrate professional and ethical conduct. There is no place in this organization for any employee that violates the public's trust and confidence in MCSO," McFadden said.

The Observer normally does not identify the victims of alleged sexual crimes. As the paper first reported, the jail attack allegedly involved a 21-year-old transgender person who identifies as a woman, and who was being held in pretrial detention at the Mecklenburg jail as a defendant in a federal identity-theft prosecution.

Sources told the Observer that the alleged attack occurred May 20. Harris was suspended the next day pending an investigation into "criminal misconduct," according to a statement from the sheriff's office. No other details were provided at that time.

According to documents in her federal case, the woman was arrested on multiple felony charges in February. In March, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler ordered her to remain in custody until her trial.

But on May 27, after the woman's defense attorney filed two sealed motions, Keesler — without elaboration — changed course and placed the woman under home confinement. He also ordered that she receive "any medical or mental health treatment" she might need. She was released from custody later that day.

The woman's attorney, assistant federal public defender Cecilia Oseguera, declined to discuss what she had filed other than to say that her client was "definitely a victim in this matter."
     
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