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Update on Northern California Coroner Charged with Sexually Abusing Young Girl

August 24, 2017

Darrell Harris, the Marin County coroner’s investigator charged with child molestation has been given a date of October 2nd for the preliminary hearing in his case. Judge Kelly Simmons set the date in a brief proceeding in Marin Superior Court. Harris attended the hearing with his wife.

A preliminary hearing is the proceeding in which a judge determines if the evidence produced by the prosecution warrants a trial. Chief Deputy District Attorney Dori Ahana anticipates the preliminary hearing to last no more than a day or two.

Harris is free on bail. Harris was released from jail on May 27th after he posted a bond against $750,000 bail.

The Arrest

Harris was arrested this spring when his accuser, now 20 years old, reported the allegations to a family member. The charges against the deputy coroner include one count of continuous sexual abuse of a girl under 14 years of age between May 2008 and May 2011.

Under California criminal law, the statute applies to “any person who either resides in the same home with the minor child or has recurring access to the child.” The charge has a potential sentencing range of six to 16 years in prison.

Additional criminal counts include charges such as lewd acts and oral sex with a minor. These allegations are said to have occurred during various times from 2011 to 2015. Harris’ alleged victim was between the ages of 14 and 17 during that time. There is also a fifth count of misdemeanor sexual battery, which involves the same alleged victim after she turned 18. That misdemeanor charge covers a period from May 2015 to March 2017.

Most of the details of the case are under seal; however, prosecutors have remarked that there is evidence against Harris in the form of his text messages to the alleged victim.

Harris has pleaded not guilty.

Harris with Marin County Coroner’s Office Since 2003

Harris has served as a Marin County Coroner investigator since 2003. He was promoted to chief deputy coroner in October 2015. At that time, he was put in charge of the office.

Harris remains on administrative leave, according to Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle. His department oversees the coroner’s office.

Harris’ case is being investigated by the Marin County District Attorney’s Office and the Santa Rosa Police Department. That police department was asked to participate because Harris, who lives in San Rafael, has a family connection to the San Rafael Police Department and works closely with Marin law enforcement agencies.

Marin County’s Chief Deputy Coroner is one of the most public figures in the area. Although Harris has not yet been tried for these crimes, these events show how powerful individuals in a community can sometimes prey on the weak and the young.

If your child has been the victim of sexual abuse while in the care of another, the Cifarelli Law Firm can help. Our law firm works to defend the rights of children, and we will work tirelessly to protect yours. Call us today to arrange for a consultation at (949) 502-8600.

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