UPDATE 10/27 — Harris has a preliminary hearing scheduled for 3 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2023.
UPDATE 10/17 — Harris appeared by video from the Greene County jail, according to online court records. He said he wants to have a bond hearing when he has a lawyer, so the Oct. 17 hearing was continued to Oct. 26 at 9 a.m.
UPDATE 10/14 — Harris has a confined docket hearing scheduled for Oct. 17 at 9 a.m. at the Greene County Courthouse.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A man living in the woods was arrested and charged with statutory sodomy after police conducted phone searches.
Ivan Matthew Harris, 29, of Springfield was arrested on Oct. 7. He has been formally charged with two felony counts of statutory sodomy and one felony count of enticement of a child less than 15 years of age.
According to a police report, Harris lived in the woods behind a trailer park after being evicted from one of the trailers. Investigators said he became the “nanny” for a 13-year-old girl and her sister and began to have a “sexual relationship” with one of them from July to September of 2022.
Police obtained a phone that he had allegedly given to the girl so that they could communicate. The password to open the phone was “1993,” which is Harris’s birth year. After obtaining search warrants for the phone and permission from Snapchat to inspect messages, officers said they found illegal pornographic images and solicitations connecting Harris to the 13-year-old.
The victim said Harris had touched her inappropriately over her clothes and she had told him to stop, which made him upset and caused him to stop speaking to her.
She said that later on he had touched her inappropriately beneath her clothes and forcibly sodomized her. The victim said she had told Harris to stop each time he touched her inappropriately.
The victim said that Harris believed them to be in a dating relationship and that she played along because she was afraid he would hurt her if she did not.
Harris later confirmed to police that he had sexual relations with the girl, according to the probable cause statement.
Police said that during this investigation, a separate investigation into Harris having sexual relations with a different 13-year-old girl was underway. Charges relating to that investigation have not been filed.
Harris’s first court date has not yet been set.