Local Businessman Convicted of Transporting and Sexually Assaulting Female Employee
HOUSTON—Henri De Sola Morris, 67, president and chief executive officer of Solid Software Solutions LLC, which does business as Edible Software Inc., has been convicted of transportation, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. After hearing opening statements in a trial that began in Houston yesterday, Morris elected to enter a guilty plea today.
Morris, a naturalized U.S. citizen residing in Houston, admitted that on or about May 8, 2011, he traveled in interstate commerce and committed, and attempted to commit, the drug-facilitated sexual assault of a female employee. That victim was present in the courtroom today as Morris acknowledged his guilt before U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon.
According to opening statements presented by the prosecution, several women relayed similar experiences of being in compromising situations with Morris after he provided each woman with a drugged alcoholic beverage he had prepared. Each woman reported instances of memory loss that followed the encounter consistent with being administered drugs. The women also reported unwanted contact with Morris, according to the opening remarks. The women all worked for Morris at one time and had taken business trips with him at his request to various states, including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Some of those women were also present in court today.
The plea agreement indicates that on one of those trips, Morris gave a female employee an alcoholic drink which he had drugged with Ambien. She recalled the drink being extremely strong and soon feeling inexplicitly “very intoxicated.” The victim recalled having their picture taken in a restaurant, but then nothing until awakening the next morning on her bed in her hotel room. At that time, she saw Morris standing over her naked body and taking pictures with his cell phone. She also had scratches on each of her hips and bruises on her arm. During a later conversation with the victim, Morris admitted he was “lonely.”
The photos Morris had taken of the woman were later recovered on a thumb drive found in his possession during the execution of a search warrant at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) on Feb. 27, 2012. Also discovered at that time were three Jack Daniel’s bottles containing a clear liquid inconsistent with the appearance of whiskey. The search also resulted in the discovery of drugs, some of which were later identified as benzodiazipams, that a toxicologist has indicated can cause physical impairment and memory loss especially when mixed with alcohol as well as several tablets of the erectile dysfunction drugs commercially-known as Viagra and Cialis.
The Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SFT) defines drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) as “when a person is subjected to nonconsensual sexual acts while they are incapacitated or unconscious due to the effect(s) of ethanol, a drug and/or other intoxicating substance and are therefore prevented from resisting and/or unable to consent.” Typical symptoms of DFSA are drowsiness, dizziness, loss of muscle control, slurred speech, decreased inhibitions, memory loss or impairment, loss of consciousness and vomiting. The SFT compiled a list of drugs, in addition to ethanol, as known to have been associated with DFSA. The drugs found on Morris at IAH are all on that list.
Morris faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine and will also be ordered to register as a sex offender. Following any sentence imposed, Morris will also be on supervised release for a minimum of five years and potentially for the remainder of his life. Judge Harmon has set sentencing for Feb. 27, 2015. Morris, who was previously on bond but later detained after violating his conditions of release, will remain in custody pending sentencing.
The case was investigated by the FBI—Houston Division Violent Crime Task Force, comprised of agents and officers from the FBI, Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory in Dallas and the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sherri Zack and Suzanne Elmilady are prosecuting the case.