In an odd twist, Newport Beach photographer Jason James Ellis has married his alleged underage sex victim, now 18. The 36 year old notable photographer, who has shot many covers for Muscle and Fitness magazine, is accused of
- Lewd act upon a child – age 14 or 15 (288(c)(1) PC)
- Unlawful sexual intercourse (261.5(d) PC)
- Sexual penetration by foreign object; victim under 16 (289(i) PC)
- Oral copulation of person under 16 years (288a(b)(2) PC)
His victim was 15 years old at the time of the alleged offenses. Ellis, who was engaged to Michelle Hecker at the time, is accused of sexually assaulting the underage victim in 2007 and 2008. On March 30th, Orange County prosecutors moved to dismiss all charges against Hecker citing insufficient evidence.
The case against Ellis is moving forward despite this latest development. Prosecutors said the victim has now stopped cooperating with the investigation. The 15 year old was an aspiring model who met Hecker at an equestrian center. Hecker introduced her to her then fiancé Ellis who agreed to photograph her.
If convicted, Ellis can face up to seven years in prison. His pretrial hearing is set for May 20, 2011.