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Mississippi Pastor, Teacher Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Minor Boys

DA says a lot of children have come in contact with the pastor, who co-owns a learning center associated with the church

A Mississippi pastor and educator was forced to take a leave of absence after police arrested and charged him with sexual assault of several minor boys.

This month, Olive Branch Police released a statement saying they received complaints claiming Daniel Paul Harris, 44, of Olive Branch Christian Church, had sexually assaulted teenagers as far back as 2015. On May 4, he was charged with two counts of sexual abuse, two counts of sexual battery, and one count of unnatural intercourse.

Desoto County District Attorney Bob Morris said many children have interacted with Harris. “I don’t want to comment in detail on the investigation. I can only say that it does cover a time period, I would not say it’s an isolated event with one individual,” he said.

Harris and his wife founded the Kaimen Center, which according to its website, instructs children and adults with disabilities in arts, sports, and academics.

The center operates in part at the Olive Branch Christian Church and shares the church address.

Affidavits from the Olive Branch Police Department list Harris as a pastor at the church. Harris’ Facebook profile, no longer active, said he worked at the church.

The alleged crimes occurred between 2015 and 2018, at Harris’ house and the church. Although the number of alleged victims is unknown, court released documents related to five victims with names redacted, according to WREG in Memphis. The records say the minors looked up to Harris as their pastor, teacher, and employer.

One mother detailed her experience with Kaimen Center and told WREG that her daughter felt uncomfortable.

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The mother said her daughter, who took guitar lessons, felt like Harris often stared at her and sometimes singled her out. She said her daughter wanted to leave. “So we just snuck out the door and never went back,” she said.

“When I saw it on Facebook, I just handed my phone to my daughter and she read it and she said, ‘We called it.’”

The church’s Facebook page and website are also unavailable.

In a statement given to Action News 5, the church said:

“Our church is committed to the safety and spiritual well-being of our congregation and community – especially our children. We do not condone sin or condemn people. Like you, our hearts are breaking for everyone involved in this situation. Please be in prayer.”

Harris was held on a $725,000 bond.

The church is asking anyone who may have information related to this case to contact the Olive Branch Police Department.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Why does MinistryWatch report on sex crimes? These stories are tough to read and sometimes even tougher to report, but we think they are vital to our mission to bring transparency, accountability, and credibility to the evangelical church. To read more about why and how we report these stories, read “Why MinistryWatch Reports On Sex Crimes.” You can find that story here.

Jessica Eturralde

Jessica Eturralde is a military wife of 18 years and mother of three who serves as a freelance writer, TV host, and filmmaker. Bylines include Yahoo, Huffington Post, OC16TV.