EXCLUSIVE: A Hackensack ex-con who said he simply “joined a party” was sent to state prison for three years for having videotaped sex with a 15-year old girl along with three of his friends.
Justin Elliott, 40, said he went to a friend’s house one morning and found three of them taking turns with the teenager, who he said was wrapped in a blanket and dancing on a couch.
“Do you think I’d let someone videotape me having sex with an underaged girl?” Elliott asked Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian in Hackensack on Friday.
“She was a big girl. She didn’t have any clothes on,” he said. “She was inviting us to have sex with her.”
“Whether you knew or not, that’s not a defense,” the judge responded.
Besides the plea-bargained three-year prison term, Elliott must register as a Megan’s Law offender and will have to report his address to law enforcement for the rest of his life.
Elliott, who records show was convicted of drug charges in 2008, said the entire experience had been an ordeal for him and his family.
“I have an 18-year old daughter, and a son 21,” he told the judge. “I had to explain what I did.”
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Dion Findley disputed Elliott’s ignorance of the victim’s age, saying he knew the girl’s mother.
One of Elliott’s co-defendants, 25-year-old Steven Conti, was to be sentenced to time served and probation on Friday but checked himself into a rehab center, prosecutors said. That hearing was postponed.
Another defendant, Anthony Duane Spray, 45, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 364 days in the Bergen County Jail late last year.
The final defendant is expected to go to trial sometime this year.
Prosecutors said Nicholas “Troy” Jackson, 36, was the instigator of the sex party and bears the most legal responsibility. The girl had run away from home a few days earlier, they said.
All four were originally charged with various assaults from June 7-9 last year — four months shy of the girl’s 16th birthday. All are from Hackensack.
The statutory rape laws under which they were charged protect youngsters between 13 and 16, and require penalties for offenders at least four years older than their victims.