An NJ appellate court has upheld the sexual assault conviction of an ex-firefighter in Hackensack, New Jersey.
The 42-year-old suspect allegedly committed sex crimes against the 13-year-old victim while her mother slept in an adjoining room. According to Bergen County prosecutors, the victim’s mother was asleep because she was recovering from surgery at the time.
When the mother learned about the sex crime, she got the suspect on the phone and reportedly recorded him while he admitted to the sexual assault.
In 2013, the suspect was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault, in addition to single counts of criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child.
After the conviction, the suspect was sentenced to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison on the sexual assault charges and another 4 years in state prison on the child endangerment charges. The superior court judge imposed the sentences consecutively, meaning that the defendant would be required to serve a total of 14 years in prison.
The defendant filed an appeal of the convictions, arguing before an appellate court that the prosecutor’s closing statement at trial was out of line. However, the appellate court ultimately upheld the convictions and ruled that the prosecutor’s closing arguments did not influence the jury’s decision in the case.
Although the convictions were upheld, the defendant did convince the appellate court that the consecutive sentences should be reconsidered. The appellate court sent the case back to the Bergen County Superior Court so that the superior court judge could decide whether the consecutive sentences should be maintained or merged into concurrent sentences.
For additional information about this case, see the NJ.com article entitled “Ex-Firefighter’s Teen Sex Assault Conviction Upheld.”