A Carteret County man with a long criminal history has admitted to committing sex crimes against a 4-year-old child.
Dallas Harvell, Jr., 48, of Newport, pleaded guilty Tuesday and was sentenced to serve between 20 and 26 years in prison.
According to deputies, a witness caught Harvell performing lewd acts against the 4-year-old child in a wooded area near Harvell's home. The crime happened on May 31, investigators said. Harvell was arrested the next day.
Harvell has a long history of sex crimes, deputies said. In 1982, Harvell was convicted 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, Harvell was convicted of indecent liberties with a 6-year-old child in Carteret County. In 2007, he was convicted of indecent liberties with a 7-year-old child in Pamlico County.
Harvell was released from prison in September 2012 and was required to register as a lifetime recidivist, according to deputies.
Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck released the following statement after Harvell's sentencing on Tuesday.
"This is yet another case that proves that certain sexual offenders will reoffend [sic] if given the opportunity. 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. "
District Attorney Scott Thomas also released a statement:
"I am glad this prosecution has resulted in a guilty plea and maximum prison sentence. 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 Buck's department for a good investigation."