ELIZABETH, NJ-- An Elizabeth man who was hired last year to take care of a young child has admitted to sexually assaulting her in a motel, acting Union County Prosecutor Thomas Isenhour, announced Tuesday.
On Monday, before state Superior Court Judge John Deitch, the defendant, Jonathan Tavara-Nima, pleaded guilty to a single count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault.
Tavara-Nima, who was 31 at the time that the abuse took place in 2017, was arrested as a result of a Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit investigation initiated by a referral from the Union Police Department.
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The investigation revealed that Tavara-Nima was hired by the then-6-year-old victim’s family last year via the website Care.com and was entrusted to look after her on a regular basis, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Tracy Boyd, who prosecuted the case.
Tavara-Nima, would still travel to the victim’s home after his employment as a caregiver ended, sometimes uninvited, and take her to a local park or out to the movies, Boyd said. On May 15, 2017, he told the victim’s mother that he was going to take her to the movies, but instead traveled with her to a store to buy her a new dress and stockings, ordered a takeout meal, and took her to the Benedict Motel in Linden, where he sexually assaulted her.
Under New Jersey’s Jessica Lunsford Act, a conviction on a charge of aggravated sexual assault against a child under 13 carries a mandatory minimum of 25 years in state prison, with the full term to be served before the possibility of parole.
Sentencing, in this case, has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, January 26, 2018.