Cocoa Detective Ben Erskine Receives U.S. Attorney’s Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer Award
By Space Coast Daily // August 31, 2017
FOR Case Against Sex Trafficker Kennedy Harris
BREVARD COUNTY • BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Cocoa Police Detective Ben Erskine was recognized by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, for his work in a sex trafficking case that yielded a 30-year prison sentence for the accused.
On Wednesday, Eskine accepted the award presented by Acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow in a special ceremony in Orlando.
Also receiving awards for their role in the case was Alexander Sorokin of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and FBI Agents Bridgette Trela and Kevin Shea.
The award was presented to Erskine for his work in building a federal case against Kennedy Harris, Jr., 24, for sex trafficking of a child and production of child pornography.
The case began in February, 2016 with an anonymous tip about a known drug dealer later identified as Harris. The information received led detectives and agents with the Special Investigations Unit to unravel the exploitation and sexual trafficking of a 16-year-old girl who was listed as a runaway.
The investigation revealed she was held against her will and forced to engage in sexual activity with as many as eight men a day for approximately two weeks before she was located. The victim was also given crack cocaine every day.
Because the victimization occurred in multiple jurisdictions, Detective Erskine contacted the FBI. The case was subsequently investigated by the FBI, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and the Cocoa Police Department.
It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany L. Cummins and was brought forth as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
“The honor is well deserved,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany Cummins. “You all put together a great case resulting in a successful prosecution. Thank you very much for all of your hard work.”
Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.
In addition to the federal charges, Harris is still facing felony drug charges through the Brevard State Attorney’s Office. His trial date is pending.
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