Hartford, CONNECTICUT – A Hartford man who sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl, then fled to St. Lucia after being confronted about the assault, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison and 15 years of special parole.
Jonathan Elliot, 39, pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor just as his case was to go to trial in August.
His victim, now 12, has a supportive family and was ready to testify against the man who assaulted her, Prosecutor Thomas Garcia told Judge Joan K. Alexander.
Elliot’s lawyers, Brian Russell and Richard Gordon, presented Alexander with a sheaf of letters written in support of Elliot. But Garcia said the evidence against Elliot was what mattered.
Because the girl immediately disclosed the assault to her mother, the child was immediately taken for a medical examination and Elliot’s DNA was recovered from her underwear and from her body, Garcia said.
A significant prison sentenced was appropriate, Garcia said.
Russell told the judge that Elliot was asking that the victim’s family forgive him and pray for him as he went off to prison. Elliot would spend a significant amount of time behind bars, he said. And he sought credit for Elliot for his decision, albeit late in the process, to plead guilty and spare the child the need to testify at trial.
Gordon noted that Elliot had no prior criminal record and had led a productive life up until the incident.
Elliot said, “I’m deeply sorry for what happened. I ask for forgiveness.”
Alexander told Elliot that the child’s mother entrusted her daughter to him while she worked. “You committed the ultimate violation of that trust,” she said.
Alexander praised the victim for her “enormous amount of strength” and the girl’s mother for efforts to support and help her daughter deal with the impact of the crime.
After the hearing, an angry Garcia, responding to the defense attorneys’ efforts to get credit for Elliot for not forcing the child to testify, said: “It would have been far more considerate not to molest her in the first place rather than spare her a trial.”
It is unlikely Elliot will spend any time on special parole. Once he completes his sentence, it is expected he will be deported from the U.S., Alexander said.
Hartford police pursued Elliot to St. Lucia and he was returned to the U.S. to face the charges.