Man Jailed in Sex Abuse of Teen Boy

CAMERON – John Harness allegedly tried to buy the silence of a sexual assault victim with a muzzleloader and other gifts, but it didn’t work.

Now, the 61-year-old Cameron resident is facing two felony counts of sexual abuse by a custodian and two misdemeanor counts of third-degree sexual abuse.

According to Marshall County sheriff’s deputies, the 13-year-old victim reported the abuse to a school resource officer on April 9, telling the officer Harness had touched him inappropriately on several occasions. During an interview a few days later, more details emerged, as the alleged victim told investigators the first incident happened close to Christmas 2008, when he was staying overnight at Harness’ home with plans to ride all-terrain vehicles the next day. The boy told deputies Harness later gave him a muzzleloader as gift to keep him from saying anything about the alleged abuse.

Deputies said the boy claimed the second incident happened in March during a party. He said Harness gave him a gift, assaulted him later that night, then told him he was a “good boy,” deputies said.

Harness was arrested Monday, taken to the Northern Regional Jail and released on $60,000 bond, pending a preliminary hearing.