Sex offender prison sentence reduced under mandatory term ruling

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Chris Harsh

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa.  – A convicted sex offender received a reduced prison term after his case was recently ordered back for re-sentencing in Lancaster County Court. Christ Harsh, 35, was convicted in 2014 of child sex abuse from 2011 to 2012, beginning when the girl was 7. He was sentenced then to 18 to 45 years in prison.

Harsh became eligible for re-sentencing because his sentence involved a mandatory term, since deemed unconstitutional by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Last week, Lancaster County Judge Jeffery Wright re-sentenced Harsh to 15 to 30 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney James Reeder presented statements from the victim’s parents, as to how the child continues to suffer impact from the abuse. Reeder asked that Judge Wright consider the nature of the offenses for which Harsh was convicted. Harsh, formerly of Elizabethtown, appeared in court with his attorney.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said he is concerned that Harsh will not be the last convicted sex offender to receive a reduced sentence.

“These are some of the most at-risk offenders. Studies have shown sex offenders have life-long, incurable afflictions, making them perhaps of highest risk to re-offend,” Stedman said. “The sooner those individuals return to society the sooner our children will be back at risk.”

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