was an LDS church member and deputy county district attorney in Los Angeles, California; arrested in 1984 and charged with child sexual abuse; jumped bail; found guilty; sentenced in absentia to 14 years in prison; lived secretly in Colorado for 20 months until federal investigators found him; local LDS church coverup alleged

Case Summary

Will Harper’s “oldest daughter, now 23 and living on the East Coast, also testified against him at the trial. He was found guilty of one count of attempted incest involving the older daughter and four counts of lewd conduct with the younger daughter, who was under 14 at the time.”

The jury “deliberated “for three days, jurors found Harper guilty on five of six felonies with which he was charged–one count of attempted incest with his older daughter, now 21, and four counts of the more serious charge of molesting his younger daughter, now 15.”


“A prosecutor’s daughter testified that she didn’t initially report allegations that her father had modeled her on the advice of her mother and a Mormon bishop.”

Suspended Deputy Los Angeles County District Attorney Harvey W. Harper, 50 of Rancho Cucamonga is charged with two counts of attempted incest and four counts of lewd conduct with a child under age 14-a daughter who is now 1 5. . . .She said her mother and a Mormon bishop had told her to forget about the incidents.”

“Girl Says Mormon bishop told her not to report incest”, The Associated Press

In 1986, Harper was convicted of molesting one child and trying to molest another in the 1970s when they were pre-teens.

In 1988, Harper was disbarred.

In a petition hearing in 1997, Harper said he though he was “just being loving and affectionate” with the victims.

  1. Judicial reversal
    view source details | 14 May 1988 | San Bernardino County Sun
  2. Harvey William Harper, Petitioner-appellant, v. James Rowland, Director; Attorney General of the State Ofcalifornia, Respondents-appellees, 999 F.2d 543 (9th Cir. 1993)
    view source details | 9 Jul 1993 | US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  3. Molester wants law license back
    view source details | 3 Apr 1997 | North County Times
Sources excerpts
  • Judicial reversal
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: San Bernardino County Sun
    Date published/accessed: 14 May 1988
    archive 1 | archive 2
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    Appellant Harvey William Harper, a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, was convicted of attempted incest and committing lewd acts upon a child. He was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. The district court denied his petition for habeas corpus. We affirm.

    Harper first claims that he was denied due process by the government's failure to record interviews that took place with Harper's wife and daughter. However, while the government may not in bad faith destroy recordings of interviews, it is under no duty to record interviews in the first instance. Miller v. Vasquez, 868 F.2d 1116, 1119-20 (9th Cir. 1989). While "a bad faith failure to collect potentially exculpatory evidence would violate the due process clause," id. at 1120-21, there is insufficient evidence to infer that the government's decision not to record the interviews was made in bad faith.

    Harper next argues that the government's investigatory techniques violated due process. He claims that the prosecution coerced and intimidated his daughter. There is insufficient evidence in the record to support Harper's essentially conclusory allegations. Harper's conflict-of-interest claim, which was not raised in the district court, and his allegation that the prosecution committed misconduct by granting his wife and daughter immunity fail for the same reason: Harper has produced inadequate evidence that a conflict existed or that immunity was granted.

    Harper also challenges the sufficiency of the accusatory pleadings and claims that they failed to describe with sufficient specificity the nature of the charges against him and the dates on which the alleged crimes took place. The information alleged specific acts against specific victims, occurring on or about certain dates. Using the appropriate statutory language, it also described each element of the crime. We believe the accusatory pleadings were sufficiently clear and specific to have informed Harper of the allegations against him and to have allowed him to plead double jeopardy in the event of a subsequent prosecution. See United States v. Johnson, 804 F.2d 1078, 1084-85 (9th Cir. 1986).

    Harper also argues that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction. In light of the direct testimony from the victims and from Harper's wife, we believe that a rational trier of fact could have found Harper guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Harper next claims that various trial court evidentiary rulings violated his due process rights. Such rulings merit habeas relief only if they "rendered the trial arbitrary or fundamentally unfair." McGuire v. Estelle, 902 F.2d 749, 753 (9th Cir. 1990), rev'd on other grounds, 112 S. Ct. 475 (1991). Harper's principal objection is to the expert testimony of Dr. Summit, who Harper maintains was not qualified to testify as an expert. We disagree. Dr. Summit was a licensed physician and psychiatrist, with decades of counseling experience, and numerous publications.1

    Finally, Harper claims judicial bias. He complains of the trial judge's body language, lopsided rulings for the prosecution, and evidentiary errors. He also claims that the sentence was excessive and that the trial judge admitted bias. We disagree that Harper has demonstrated judicial bias and reject his conclusory allegations as unsupported by the evidence.

    After full consideration of petitioner's overlength arguments2 and the trial court's record, the district court's denial of petition for writ of habeas corpus is AFFIRMED.

    * The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a) and Ninth Circuit Rule 34-4

    ** This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3

    1 We have reviewed Harper's other evidentiary claims, and find no error that rendered the proceeding fundamentally unfair

    2 Both the size of type and margins in appellant's briefs violate Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)

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    Molester wants law license back
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: North County Times
    Date published/accessed: 3 Apr 1997
    archive 1 | archive 2

Mormon Sexual Abuse Map

International map of locations where active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perpetrated or allegedly perpetrated sexual abuse or other sex crimes, or where LDS leaders failed or allegedly failed to help abuse survivors.