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Magazine photographer on trial for statutory rape, weds victim

By KJ Mullins     Apr 23, 2011 in Crime
A California photographer whose work has graced the covers of Elle and Maxim is a newlywed. His bride is also his alleged victim of statutory rape.
According to media reports Jason James Ellis was married to his 18-year-old bride on February 28 in Laguna Hills.
Ellis, 36, has been accused of having sex with his bride when she was 14 and 15 years of age for at least eight months. If he is convicted of the six felony charges he is facing he could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.
The OC Register reports:
Orange County Deputy District Attorney Drew Haughton said, "The fact that they are now married does not change the fact that we believe there is sufficient evidence that the defendant was engaged in illegal sexual relations with the victim when she was 14 and 15 years old."
The events took place beginning August 2007. Police were notified by the girl's parents. The parents had already confirmed their suspicions of a sexual relationship between their under-aged daughter and Ellis after hiring a private investigator. Police arrested Ellis in 2008.
At the time of the arrest Ellis was engaged to another woman, Michelle Hecker. That woman was charged with acting as an accomplice but the charges were dropped.
A pre-trial hearing is slated for May 20. The trial will begin in June.
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