Rankin Man receives a 30-Year Sentence for Child Abuse of a nine-month old Child

For Immediate Release
March 6, 2012
For more information, please contact
Michael Guest at (601) 825-1472

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that following a three day trial that Charles Dennis Harris was found guilty of felony child abuse. Harris who was sentenced to serve thirty years in prison with the last eight years of his sentence suspended.

On March 24, 2009, the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department and the Florence Police Department responded to the Crossgates Riveroaks Hospital, where medical personnel were in the process of preparing the child to be transferred the The University Medical Center in Jackson.

The hospital reported that a nine month old child had been brought to the hospital by the child’s mother with injuries that were believed to be related from physical abuse. A full body scan later revealed that the child suffered from two collapsed lungs, two broken arms, and burns to both hands.

The investigation determined that the child was being cared for by Charles Dennis Harris at the time these injuries occurred.

Guest stated, “Harris is one of the worst criminals that we have to prosecute – the ones that hurt our children. Harris inflicted severe injury and pain to a helpless child and he will now pay the consequences for his actions.”

Guest added, “Harris tried to explain away the injuries suffered by the child blaming them on the child falling off the bed, her burning her hand on a candle or possibly touching a hot light bulb and finally stating that he may have accidentally rolled onto the child during the night. Numerous medical experts testified that the injuries sustained by the child could not have happened as Harris alleged, and they added that the injuries were consistent with physical abuse.”

Guest concluded, “This case is a great example of law enforcement and the medical community working together to protect a child who has suffered abuse at the hands of a caregiver. Crimes against children should never happen but when they do those who abuse our children must be held accountable.”