School dean who shot student pleads guilty to federal charge

·2 min read

BOSTON (AP) — A former Boston high school dean already in prison for shooting a student he recruited to deal drugs has pleaded guilty to a federal gang-related charge.

Shaun Harrison, 63, who was known by students at The English High School as “Rev,” pleaded guilty in Boston federal court on Tuesday to a count of racketeering conspiracy more than two years after he was indicted alongside dozens of other Latin Kings members, leaders and associates.

Harrison was convicted in state court in 2018 of assault and other charges, and sentenced to up to 26 years in prison for shooting a 17-year-old student in the back of the head after a dispute over slumping drug sales. The bullet broke the teen’s jawbone and just missed his carotid artery, and he survived.

Harrison lived a double life, painting himself as an anti-violence activist and mentor for troubled teens while hiding his own gang ties and luring students into drugs and violence, according to authorities. Harrison denied the charges.

While locked up in state prison, federal prosecutors accused him of working with fellow gang members from behind bars to try to identify a police informant in his case. Harrison's plea deal in the federal case calls for a sentence of about 18 years in prison.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said Harrison exploited “his position of trust to corrupt and coerce vulnerable and at-risk children into a world of criminal activity.”

“He used his position of trust to find his victims and groom them. It is truly disgusting,” she said in an emailed statement.

An attorney representing Harrison in the federal case declined on Wednesday to comment.

Federal prosecutors say Harrison is the 60th defendant to plead guilty in the massive Latin Kings case stemming from an investigation dubbed “Operation Throne Down.” Two defendants are still wanted on federal arrest warrants, authorities say.

A federal judge recently ordered Harrison to pay more than $10 million in damages to the former student he was convicted of trying to kill, but it's unclear whether the victim will ever get any money from Harrison.

The default judgement includes $7.5 million in damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress; $2.5 million in punitive damages; and more than $80,000 for the victim’s medical bills.