Local

Man convicted in East High bathroom groping incident sentenced

The East High campus in Wichita.
The East High campus in Wichita. The Wichita Eagle

Guy Harris – convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery of a teen in a girls bathroom at East High School – received a 47-month prison sentence Thursday for that crime and other offenses.

The victim’s mother said she was thankful for the sentence but said her daughter was traumatized by the assault, which occurred last September. The teen, now 19, continues to receive counseling, her mother said. The mother asked that her name not be used to protect her daughter’s identity.

When it was his turn to speak, Harris, 29, criticized the news media. He said they “made me look like basically a monster, a killer, a rapist.”

The overall sentence for Harris includes a 12-month sentence for the sexual battery plus sentences for a probation violation and a felony flee-and-elude case after the teen was groped.

The prosecutor asked for the 47-month sentence, while defense attorneys sought a 34-month sentence without supervision after his release from prison.

District Judge David Kaufman told Harris that he also will have to spend a year under supervision after he is released from prison and will have to be listed on the offender registry for 15 years.

The mother of the victim told Kaufman that her daughter was in her senior year when the crime happened.

“She was just going to the bathroom, and he followed her in there,” she said. “I thought my daughter was in a safe environment that day.”

The mother spoke of the impact on her daughter: The teen can’t sleep, feels sad and suffers flashbacks. The mother said her daughter said the experience is “killing me inside,” but that the teen is “taking it day by day.”

“He (Harris) deserves … the maximum,” the mother told Kaufman.

Police said Harris entered the school on Sept. 9 and followed the 18-year-old female student into a restroom while classes were underway. He groped her as she tried to leave, and she immediately told school staff about the encounter, authorities said.

Police later identified Harris as the suspect, who left the building. Police asked for the public’s help finding him. A Crime Stoppers tip led to his April 20 arrest.

In July, the victim filed a lawsuit against the school principal and the Wichita school board, accusing them of negligence and unsafe security practices at the school.

The lawsuit said that school employees routinely left the front entrance door “unlocked, unsecured, and unmanned,” which endangered students’ safety and welfare.

The lawsuit seeks “in excess of $75,000” for “sexual assault, humiliation, disgrace, embarrassment, mental agony, mental pain and suffering, severe emotional distress” and other damages.

Tim Potter: 316-268-6684, @terporter

  Comments