VALATIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Valatie man was sentenced to 15 years in prison with 20 years of post-release supervision for sexually assaulting a child, according to the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office. Heath Harrison, 49, was convicted by plea of first-degree criminal sexual assault.

Harrison was originally arrested back in December 2020 on allegations he sexually abused a child between 2014 and 2018, when the victim was between seven and 12 years old. Police say the crimes happened in the Town of Chatham and the Village of Valatie.

Harrison will have to register as a sex offender once he is released from prison. An order of protection was issued on behalf of the victim for 23 years.

According to the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office, the victim told the court at sentencing, “I am stronger than I ever thought I could be.”

“We could not have achieved this disposition and resulting protection for the community without the courage of the survivor,” said Deputy Chief District Attorney Ryan Carty, who prosecuted the case. “All right thinking people commend her for her bravery. We also are grateful for the experienced professionals of the Child Advocacy Center for their multidisciplinary response in this case and also for providing services and support to all of our survivors.”