Air Force agent turned Guard recruiter sentenced for child sex crime

by Tommy Grant

A federal judge has sentenced a former Air Force special agent who later served as an Army National Guard recruiter to 10 years in prison for child sex crimes.

On Oct. 6, Joshua Carl Harrod, 44, of Spanaway, Washington pleaded guilty to charges of enticement of a minor and making a false statement to a government agency. He was sentenced in federal court on Monday.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle described the crimes as “sadistic” and “indescribably cruel,” according to a Justice Department press release.

Harrod lived in a mobile home at the Holiday Park on Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington from 2017 to 2018, according to court documents.

He was honorably discharged from the Air Force, where he last served as a special agent in the Office of Special Investigations in 2018. Harrod then went to work as an Army National Guard recruiter at the U.S. Army Recruiting Station in Lakewood, Washington.

From October 2017 to January 2018, on at least five occasions Harrod had sexual contact with a female minor under the age of 12 at his residence on JBLM, according to court documents. Harrod showed the victim pornography on his phone to desensitize her and threatened to kill her mother if anyone found out, the documents state.

In May 2021, after the FBI had begun investigating allegations against Harrod, he sent an email to his attorney with a screenshot of a text message he claimed was from the victim’s mother. The alleged screenshot was a threat against him.

However, the victim’s mother did not send the message. Investigators later discovered that Harrod had sent himself the text message from his work phone, altering the contact information to make it appear as though it came from the victim’s mother.

Agents met with Harrod on June 17, 2021, to discuss the text message and the investigation. Harrod told the agents he’d thrown his phone and broken it the night before. Agents later retrieved his phone, which was not damaged, according to court documents.

On July 14, 2021, Harrod was indicted on five counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, one count of falsification of records in a federal investigation and one count of false statement to a government agency.

As part of a plea agreement, Harrod pleaded guilty to enticement of a minor and making a false statement to a government agency. The remaining charges were dismissed.

Following his 10-year prison sentence, Harrod will be on lifetime supervised release.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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