A Newport man has pleaded guilty to felony attempted first degree sex offense for an incident involving a 4-year-old neighborhood child.
Dallas Harvell Jr., 48, of Dutch Treat Mobile Home Park, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Carteret County Superior Court.
A registered sex offender who had gotten out of prison in September on a 2007 conviction for indecent liberties with a child, Harvell was sentenced to between 20 and 26 years in prison.
“I am glad this prosecution has resulted in a guilty plea and maximum prison sentence,” District Attorney Scott Thomas said in a statement. “Mr. Harvell is a repeat offender and should never have been released early by the Division of Adult Correction. He has now received a maximum prison sentence of 26 years. People are safer with folks like Mr. Harvell in prison.
“I would like to commend the individual who reported the suspicious activity to law enforcement and Sheriff (Asa) Buck’s department for a good investigation.”
On May 31, Harvell was caught with the boy in a wooded area near Harvell’s residence, both had their pants down and Harvell was seen engaging in a lewd and lascivious sex act with the child, according to a previous news release issued by the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office.
Harvell spotted the witness, pulled up his pants and fled with the boy. The witness, who was walking on a path through the wooded area as a cut through to another subdivision, reported his discovery to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies were able to locate the boy and identify Harvell.
“This is yet another case that proves that certain sexual offenders will reoffend if given the opportunity,” Buck said in a statement. “These type offenders should never be considered for early release, especially if they have already been classified as recidivists.
“Thankfully in this case a citizen was in the right place at the right time and came forward with the information in order that we could conduct an investigation. I commend the witness, our deputies and District Attorney Scott Thomas and his office for a job well done.”
Harvell is a convicted sex offender who was placed on the North Carolina registry after being released from prison. He was first convicted in 1982 of indecent liberties with a child in Carteret County. In 1992, he was charged with crimes against nature and indecent liberties with a child in Craven County. In 2000, he was convicted of indecent liberties with a 6-year-old child in Carteret County. In 2007, he was convicted of two counts of indecent liberties with a 7-year-old child in connection with a 2004 Pamlico County incident.
Harvell is required to be registered as sex offender as a lifetime recidivist.