Scranton, Pa

Texas Chief Constable Arrested and Charged with Solicitation of Prostitution

Posted: October 18, 2022

On September 21, 2022, Brian Harris, then Chief Deputy for the Precinct 5 Constable’s Office in Harris County, Texas was arrested for solicitation of prostitution. Deputies from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office conducted an undercover prostitution sting at a local hotel. Harris, along with 13 other sex buyers, were arrested and charged for their alleged conduct. The organized crime unit of the Sheriff’s Office worked with the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance to conduct the sting operation.

On Thursday, September 22, 2022, law enforcement officers charged Harris with the felony offense. Then, the law enforcement officers released Harris from the Montgomery County Jail. Harris wore a towel to cover his face as he left the jail.

On Thursday, September 22, 2022, Constable Ted Heap announced Harris was  “relieved of duty” as Chief Deputy for the Precinct 5 Constable’s Office in Harris County. His termination was effective immediately. In a news release, the Precinct 5 Constable’s Office wrote, “We are sending a message that we are not going to tolerate this activity in our community. We will arrest those who engage in this illicit act. We will continue to identify those who have been forced into trafficking by rescuing them from their situations and connecting them with services to help with their recovery.”

The CSE Institute applauds the work of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in its effort to stop human trafficking and provide support for victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Targeting the demand for commercial sex is essential to putting an end to human trafficking. The CSE Institute advocates for the adoption of the Equality Model in the United States. This model consists of four elements: (1) decriminalization of the prostituted person, (2) criminalization of sex buyers and facilitators with a commitment to treating buying sex as a serious crime, (3) a public education campaign about the inherent harms of prostitution, and (4) funded, robust, holistic exit services for victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The Equality Model calls for law enforcement to directly target the demand for buying sex by criminalizing sex buyers and traffickers, while decriminalizing those who are bought and sold for commercial sex. The decriminalization of people in prostitution recognized those who are bought and sold for sex as exploited, not as perpetrators of a crime.

As the sting was conducted in a local Harris County hotel, the CSE Institute also urges the hotel industry to take proactive steps toward preventing commercial sexual exploitation. Hotels and motels are one of the most common sites of sex trafficking, as they allow for multiple buyers to filter through a single hotel room to buy sex. Despite signs of human trafficking, these venues often fail to take active steps to protect victims and report trafficking. These industries have the power to stop exploitation. Hotels and motels throughout the country should implement training courses that teach employees the signs of sex trafficking. In addition, they should implement a reporting plan for when an employee suspects human trafficking.

The CSE Institute will provide updates on this matter as they become available.

All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University. 

Category: News

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