Tulare civil leader arrested in sex sting

Chris Harrell

Chris Harrell, the former executive director of the Tulare Historical Museum and a Tulare civic leader, was arrested over the weekend along with 12 other men for allegedly soliciting sex with a minor. According to an anonymous source, Harrell has not worked at the museum for two months.

Harrell was released from custody just after 9am on Monday, October 5, after being arrested during a sting conducted by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) over the weekend.

He is accused of contacting a TCSO deputy posing as a teenager in order to exchange money or gifts for sex. Besides serving as head of Tulare’s museum, he has also served on the boards of the Tulare Methodist Church and the Tulare Masonic Temple Association. In 2018, Harrell made a bid for the Tulare City Council seat currently held by Dennis Mederos.

Harrell did not return a request for an interview.


Harrell’s Father Reacts

Harrell’s father, Steve Harrell, is currently a trustee for the Tulare Local Health Care District. He is also seeking a seat on the Tulare City Council, running against Carlton Jones. He says his son’s arrest will not affect his own campaign.

“I don’t see why it would,” Steve Harrell said. “I’m the one running for office, not him.”

Harrell, who spent three decades in law enforcement, including becoming second in command at the Tulare Police Department prior to his retirement, says he is not ready to reach any conclusion.

“Thirty years in law enforcement,” he said. “There’s always two sides.”

Steve Harrell says he will support his son through the legal process. Meanwhile, Chris Harrell is attempting to take events in stride, his father says.

“He’s just continuing on as always,” Steve Harrell said.


The Sting

Chris Harrell and 12 other men were arrested while attempting to contact officers posing as one of several teenagers aged 14 to 17 for whom the officers created social media accounts to attract alleged sexual predators. Those arrested allegedly offered money or gifts to the officers before agreeing to meet them at a home somewhere in Tulare County.

“The suspects used pedophile grooming techniques to arrange to meet up and have sex with our undercover decoys,” a TCSO statement said. “All 13 men arrived at the home thinking they were meeting with a teenager, only to be met by law enforcement officers.”

Those arrested include Harrell, 43, Adam Lathrum, 25, Andres Duenas, 34, Alberto Falcon Leiva, 52, Jorge Rojas, 34, Roger Garcia, 21, Usiel Rebolledo, 41, Fernando Campos, 43, Alvino Rivera, 22, Kyle Adams, 27, Jesus Gomez, 23, and David Safrazian, 24.

25 thoughts on “Tulare civil leader arrested in sex sting

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  1. Another shining moment for Tulare! Pedophiles should rot in hell as far as I am concerned.

    • Let the police do their job and quit the QAnon lies and B.S.
      The could do this sting in any city/state and lure men into being stupid. Actual pedos aren’t so obvious, they could be your coach or uncle or POTUS.

  2. Suddenly the retired once-second-ranking cop realizes that cops aren’t always right when his nearly middle age son gets arrested.

    I wonder if he ever said that in any case he was involved in as an officer?

    Testified that way?

    I bet not.

  3. Wow I can’t believe Steve would support his son on this…disgusting! Steve maybe you need to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong before you decide to be a councilman. Instead of supporting him how about making him accountable. You definitely lost my vote!

    • It’s a sad situation his son is in but a parent should always be there for their son/daughter. Don’t judge Steve for being a parent.

      • Yes your correct always be there for your child as a parent, which means holding them accountable when they are wrong as well. Not just simply saying two sides to every story. His son drove there on his own free will to meet a underage person for sex. So curious how different his story is from the police. Let me guess he didnt know they were underage. Sure!! Him nor his father should be allowed any high postions. Apples usually dont fall far from thier trees.

        • You’re right He drove there of his own free will… so why are you condemning his father? I’m sure if we all shook our family trees some criminals would fall out doesn’t mean we’re all bad “apples”. No doubt Chris should be ashamed of what he did whether its a 14 year old girl or a 17 yr old boy they’re children. I applaud the great work the Sheriffs Department did in apprehending these deplorable individuals and the best part is they did it without any children being harmed or placed in danger. I 100% agree justice needs to be served and Chris needs to face the consequences. However, justice is not served by holding Steve accountable for his grown sons actions. Even if Steve isn’t ready to admit that his son has done something wrong that doesn’t make Steve culpable… it only makes him a parent who isn’t ready to deal with the decisions of their child.

  4. To think his sons actions doesn’t effect his chance at being elected sounds condicending. So since it’s your son, there’s “two sides to every story”? Naw, he’s a peDo just be real about it!

  5. Tears for Tulare. But thank you to the police for rooting out this evil in our city. Yes it affects elections! No, you don’t get to go on as nothing happened! Shame on all of you pedophiles and Steve. Yes this affects you! You didn’t hold him accountable! You didn’t shame him. That can only mean that you condone his behavior!

    And I have no idea who Kyle Adams is. But clearly he wasn’t raised like a real Adams. You brought shame on our family name. The one thing that all our Adams family has been taught. Never bring shame on the Adams name, you aren’t the only one who will use it!”

  6. Wow, so many are ready to pounce on a person whom just found out the same time this news hit. Steve didn’t comment and maybe other things were on his mind.

    Steve’s father passed away that morning. I learned about it on Tuesday. Having seen my own father die, I know there are many arrangements that need to be made and having to deal with the hate expressed here is probably the last thing on his mind. Steve still showed up for the candidate’s forum as he stands by his commitment to being elected as a City Councilman.

    Elections bring out the best and worst in people. Steve shows integrity under duress. For many posting, nice for bringing out the worst in yourselves. Too bad you are afraid to put your name to your comments and show your true self to the people of Tulare.

  7. Prostitution has been in plain site on Inyo in Tulare and other places, rest area etc. for many years. It has been condoned by law enforcement in the past. These attitudes aren’t going to change overnight.

  8. so sad how many people here are condemning the father..you never know what you would do in this kind of situation until it happens to you. The father, I am sure, is stunned, hurt and disappointed but with his background in l LE he is trained to be restrained and hold back his feelings. Plus he may be like that anyway..Dont think for one minute his heart isn’t broken. I have learned as a parent and really as a human, never say never..things can happen to you in your life, things you never, ever thought possible or would be something you have to deal with..no one is immune to bad things happening…I have also learned those that judge so harshly sometimes have something just as ugly or life changing happen to them, so be careful with your words..we don’t know what this is like to go through and one day it could be you..

  9. This isn’t the first or last time they’ve done this. There is no “cure” for sex offenders.

  10. Guess what?, the arrest of 13 men in Tulare County doesn’t tell the entire story…there are many Pedos that never get arrested…there are Pedos that wear a badge, there are pedos that teach in your kids schools, that sit behind you on Sunday mornings in church….there might be one that sits at your dinner table…, you might even be one. They’re everywhere and we all interact with them and don’t even know it, Steve Harrell should support his son, it doesn’t mean he approves of his actions .

  11. Wonder how many are already out of jail back on the streets because our Governors “Zero Bail” policy.

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