Franklin Co. Residents Shocked By Tax Collector's Sex Allegations

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. - Many residents are left in shock after Franklin County Tax Collector James Harris is accused of engaging in sexual activity with a 17-year-old boy.

By order of Governor Rick Scott, Harris is also suspended from his duties as tax collector.

"We received a complaint that there'd been a sex act between Jimmy Harris and a young man, an underage man 17 years of age," said Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith.

According to the narrative by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, the complaint was made when the mother's live-in boyfriend caught Harris leaving their home through the front door last Friday.

The report states the boyfriend was able to get the license plate number from the car parked in the driveway, which deputies traced to Harris.

"The investigators went to his home and spoke with him, and that's where he confessed, he told them," said Smith

Harris' position as tax collector is now vacant.

"I received an e-mail from the governor's office with Mr. Harris has been suspended from office," said Smith.

Meanwhile, Supervisor of Elections Heather Riley said this is something the county has never seen.

"It's been busy, lot's of phone calls. Lots of concerned citizens, wondering what's going to happen," said Riley.

Riley said she's worked with Harris for several years before she filled her position as the new supervisor of elections.

"The community loves him, he's an icon in this community. As far as everybody knows him, everybody likes him, everybody has a good word to say about him," said Riley.

She said the accusations have caught many people by surprise.

"I mean I know it's a huge shock to everyone in the community," added Riley.

Sheriff Smith said since there are allegations of Harris and the minor communicating via social media, the investigation is ongoing.

"We are continuing the investigation because we're actually serving search warrants for phone, and some computers, and things like that. So, the investigation from that aspect is still ongoing," said Riley.

Harris was arrested Friday and was released on a $5,000 bond Saturday.

In the report Harris said the minor's online profile showed him to be 18 years old. 

Officials at the Franklin County Tax Collector's Office declined to comment on the matter at this time.

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