PDA

View Full Version : Fitness Photographer Marries Teen He's Accused of Molesting


JasonLannigan
04-21-2011, 03:36 PM
http://www.aolnews.com/2011/04/20/fitness-photographer-jason-james-ellis-marries-teen-hes-accused/

Fitness Photographer Marries Teen He's Accused of Molesting

By Tori Richards

A well-known fitness photographer who is awaiting trial on a host of child molestation charges has now married his alleged victim more than three years after the district attorney says the crimes occurred.

Jason James Ellis, 36, has been charged with six felony sexual assault counts including sexual penetration by a foreign object, unlawful sexual intercourse and oral copulation of a then-15-year-old aspiring model, according to court records.

The model is now 18, and the couple married Feb. 28 in Orange County, Calif., where Ellis has a thriving photography business shooting muscle magazines.

His trial is set for June 6.

Instances involving a victim who marries the defendant charged with assaulting them are rare, Orange County Deputy District Attorney Drew Haughton told the Daily Pilot newspaper (http://www.dailypilot.com/news/education/tn-dpt-0420-ellis-20110419,0,6745504.story).

"I typically saw weddings more in the context where there was a pregnancy involved and they wanted to keep the family together," Haughton said. "I don't think I've ever seen one with this large an age difference."

He said their marriage didn't change his confidence in the case.

"I think whether they're married or not, he committed a crime because we have evidence to believe he had sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old female," Haughton told the Pilot.

According to the district attorney's office, the case unfolded like this:

Ellis met the victim, dubbed "Jane Doe," when she was 14. They were introduced by Ellis' live-in fiancée, Michelle Hecker, under the pretense that the girl would become a model. Hecker is listed on LinkedIn as Ellis' "photo rep."

Soon, Ellis and the girl began having dinner and movie dates and were seen kissing and touching in public.

Hecker, then 31, would facilitate the relationship by picking up the girl at home under the guise of taking her horseback riding. The girl's parents trusted Hecker, who would have Doe dress up in riding clothes and then change out of them during her dates with Ellis.

The girl's parents became suspicious over the amount of time she was spending with Hecker and hired a private investigator to find out what was happening. Evidence was collected -- including DNA -- of a sexual relationship in 2007 and 2008 that was turned over to police.

Hecker was initially charged with the same counts as Ellis, but her case was dismissed when Ellis and the teen married.

"We recently dismissed the charges against Hecker because the victim is now refusing to cooperate, and we are unable to prove a case against Hecker beyond a reasonable doubt without Jane Doe's testimony," district attorney spokeswoman Farrah Emami told AOL News.

Emami said she didn't know what could have motivated Hecker to allegedly become involved in the case.


Calls to Ellis' and Hecker's attorneys were not returned, and Ellis did not return a call placed at his studio.

The photographer's website claims he is "King of Covers" and "The World's #1 Fitness Photographer" with "Over 100 magazine covers." A photo shows him (http://www.jasonellisphotography.com/#mi=1&pt=0&pi=2&s=0&p=-1&a=0&at=0) sitting in a brocade jacket on a throne.

He routinely photographs covers of magazines such as Muscle and Fitness, Olympian's News, Men's Workout, and Exercise and Health.

One notation on his site states: "Jason can get you published in a magazine or EVEN ON THE COVER if you have what it takes. You could be the next cover model! Book your shoot today."

Playswithrocks
04-21-2011, 03:40 PM
Ugh, this pig again? Aren't there a lot of ladies who've complained about this guy?
I feel bad for the girl. 18 is young to get married, and I'd put money on it not being a healthy relationship at all. Sure, she's and adult now, but he's had since she was 15 to brainwash and manipulate her.

kaytikat
04-21-2011, 03:50 PM
Ugh, this pig again? Aren't there a lot of ladies who've complained about this guy?
I feel bad for the girl. 18 is young to get married, and I'd put money on it not being a healthy relationship at all. Sure, she's and adult now, but he's had since she was 15 to brainwash and manipulate her.

Not to mention 18 shouldn't always be considered an adult. I got married at 18 but was in absolutely no way ready to be married. Hope the guy rots.

JasonLannigan
04-21-2011, 03:54 PM
Jason has over 5,000 fans on his Facebook Page, even after being accused of molesting a teenage girl 3 years ago. :confused:

This story will no doubt be a book someday. Very bizarre.

http://www.dailypilot.com/news/education/tn-dpt-0420-ellis-20110419,0,6745504.story

Newport Beach man marries his alleged then-underage victim

Famed photographer faces statutory rape charges of the 18-year-old he married Feb. 28 in Laguna Hills.

By Joseph Serna

A famed Newport Beach fitness photographer accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl has married his alleged victim now that she's an adult, county records show.

Jason James Ellis, 36, who is facing statutory rape charges, married the 18-year-old woman in Laguna Hills on Feb. 28, according to an Orange County License and Certificate of Marriage.

Prosecutors said the woman has stopped cooperating with authorities in their felony case against Ellis and his ex-fiancée, Michelle Hecker, who are accused of sexually assaulting her in 2007 and 2008.

It's not clear how the marriage would affect a jury's decision, but Deputy Dist. Atty. Drew Haughton said the circumstances are certainly unusual in a sexual assault case like statutory rape.

"I typically saw weddings more in the context where there was a pregnancy involved and they wanted to keep the family together," Haughton said, adding that Ellis and his wife aren't expecting as far as he knows. "I don't think I've ever seen one with this large an age difference."

Hecker and Ellis were charged with six felonies, ranging from lewd acts on a child to unlawful sexual intercourse, though Hecker was only accused of being an accomplice to the relationship.

The woman's testimony was key to prosecutors arguing that Hecker fostered the relationship between her and Hecker's then-fiancée.

Authorities said Hecker met the woman — then an aspiring model — at an equestrian center and said Ellis could photograph her.

Prosecutors dismissed all charges against Hecker on March 25. Ellis' attorney was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

For at least eight months between 2007 and 2008, Ellis allegedly carried on a sexual relationship with the then-minor before a relative complained to police.

Despite the marriage and uncooperative victim, Haughton remains confident in the case.

"I think whether they're married or not, he committed a crime because we have evidence to believe he had sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old female," Haughton said.

Because the woman who married Ellis could have been the victim of a crime, the Daily Pilot has decided to withhold her name.

Ellis is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing May 20. He faces up to seven years in prison, if convicted.

vicki8seekers
04-21-2011, 03:58 PM
So what, did his "live-in fiance" just leave him? I wonder how old she was...did she just get too old?

I also wonder how long they will be married before he wants to find another underage girl...and will she help bring THAT girl there?

Gros!!!:nuts:

kaytikat
04-21-2011, 04:01 PM
This story will no doubt be a book someday. Very bizarre.



my money is on Lifetime network movie of the week...

JasonLannigan
04-21-2011, 04:06 PM
If he is found guilty, I hope the judge gives him 7 years. I imagine the parents of the alleged victim are devastated.

Playswithrocks
04-21-2011, 04:21 PM
Not to mention 18 shouldn't always be considered an adult. I got married at 18 but was in absolutely no way ready to be married. Hope the guy rots.

Exactly!
I got married at 19 and that was too young. Bless the good Lord he was a good man, and we are still married. But, a lot of trouble and heartache could have been prevented had we just given it some time.

I don't see Mr. Pedo's marriage lasting. I hope it ends sooner rather than later for her sake. :(

Making_A_Change
04-21-2011, 04:42 PM
If he is found guilty, I hope the judge gives him 7 years. I imagine the parents of the alleged victim are devastated.

I hold the parents of the child responsible, as well. There is NO WAY in h--...the world, a child of mine would spend inordinate amounts of time with a grown man. As parents, we are the first line of defense in protecting our children. Was it the lure of a cover? A successful modeling career? Did they feel they were "giving her a leg up in 'the industry'"? Whatever their [the parents] rationale was, I feel very strongly, that they failed their daughter.

cray17
04-21-2011, 05:19 PM
my money is on Lifetime network movie of the week...

Dang...you took the words right out of my mouth.

I have a feeling this won't end well, but I hope for her sake, she comes out of this a better woman.

JasonLannigan
04-21-2011, 05:46 PM
I hold the parents of the child responsible, as well. There is NO WAY in h--...the world, a child of mine would spend inordinate amounts of time with a grown man. As parents, we are the first line of defense in protecting our children. Was it the lure of a cover? A successful modeling career? Did they feel they were "giving her a leg up in 'the industry'"? Whatever their [the parents] rationale was, I feel very strongly, that they failed their daughter.

Predators are very manipulative. Were the parents even aware she was spending time with Jason, or did they believe she was out with his ex girlfriend (riding horses)? The parents brought this matter to the attention of the authorities. One wonders how the daughter feels now about her parents. Does she hate them? It's a horrible situation all around. If Jason is guilty, I hope he spends years behind bars.

Dream Chaser
04-21-2011, 06:29 PM
I hold the parents of the child responsible, as well. There is NO WAY in h--...the world, a child of mine would spend inordinate amounts of time with a grown man. As parents, we are the first line of defense in protecting our children. Was it the lure of a cover? A successful modeling career? Did they feel they were "giving her a leg up in 'the industry'"? Whatever their [the parents] rationale was, I feel very strongly, that they failed their daughter.

Was just discussing this very thing Kass....I as a mother would NEVER allow my daughter to go anywhere without my first checking out the scene and careful cause I'm known for pop up visit too. I'm also Queen of background checks too. Before you snap one picture, you would be invited to my home, work in my company and as long as she is in my care...don't care if she's 50 yrs old, you will never be alone with mine.:mad:

Additionally, I've stressed to my daughter to listen to her inner voice. If a situation doesn't feel right it's NOT RIGHT.

This story is wrong on every front!

Qubabe
04-21-2011, 06:45 PM
Was just discussing this very thing Kass....I as a mother would NEVER allow my daughter to go anywhere without my first checking out the scene and careful cause I'm known for pop up visit too. I'm also Queen of background checks too. Before you snap one picture, you would be invited to my home, work in my company and as long as she is in my care...don't care if she's 50 yrs old, you will never be alone with mine.:mad:

Additionally, I've stressed to my daughter to listen to her inner voice. If a situation doesn't feel right it's NOT RIGHT.

This story is wrong on every front!

From what I've read the parents had no idea that Jason even existed or any photography was being done. Jason's ex was the one who gained the trust of the parents leading them to believe she was taking their daughter horseback riding and so forth. Once the parents got suspicious they followed the girls in route where they saw their daughter with Jason and at that point is where charges were filed against both Jason and his ex girlfriend.

RedOne
04-21-2011, 07:01 PM
Reminds me of R.Kelley and Aaliyah....

JasonLannigan
04-22-2011, 07:07 PM
Will people in this industry continue to work with Jason?

JasonLannigan
04-24-2011, 05:22 PM
More details.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-rape-marriage-20110423,0,655333.story

Defendant marries alleged victim in statutory rape case

Now 18, the young woman has stopped cooperating with Orange County prosecutors. The charges against the defendant's former fiancee have been dropped, but the case against him continues.

By Joseph Serna and Jack Leonard, Los Angeles Times April 23, 2011

The criminal charges were disturbing: A Newport Beach fitness photographer in his 30s carried on a months-long sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl after promising to help her modeling career.

Aiding him, prosecutors said, was the photographer's fiancee, who allegedly gained the trust of the girl's mother before delivering the teenager to photographer Jason James Ellis so they could spend time alone together.

Nearly three years later, as the statutory rape trial draws near, the case has taken a bizarre turn, with Ellis marrying his alleged victim three months after she turned 18.

The alleged victim has stopped cooperating, dealing a blow to the prosecution's case. Last month, the Orange County district attorney's office dropped all charges against Ellis' former fiancee, Michelle Hecker, announcing that it could not proceed without the help of the teen's testimony.

Nevertheless, prosecutors say they have enough evidence to push ahead with a trial of Ellis, 36, who has pleaded not guilty. The photographer, who bills himself as the "King of Covers" and shoots bodybuilders and other fitness models, faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of charges including lewd acts on a child and unlawful sexual intercourse.

The case underscores the unusual challenge prosecutors face if alleged victims and perpetrators wed.

Husbands and wives can refuse to testify against a spouse, but the privilege does not apply in criminal cases in which the spouse is the victim. Legal experts said lawmakers added exceptions to the privilege to prevent offenders from effectively derailing prosecutions by marrying their victims.

Complicating the case is the fact that California law prohibits courts from jailing sexual assault victims if they refuse to testify against their alleged assailants. But the law does not apply to victims in statutory rape cases, leaving prosecutors with a difficult decision in the case against Ellis, said Laurie Levenson, a Loyola Law School professor and former federal prosecutor.

"What you don't want is to look like you're beating up the victim. I don't think that a jury would like that very much," Levenson said. "But there may not be much to lose.... If the answer is that they had sex, that's the end of the case."

The alleged victim could not be reached for comment. The Times generally does not name victims of sex crimes.

Authorities say the girl's mother introduced her daughter to Hecker in 2006 at a Laguna Hills equestrian center. The mother asked Hecker to be a mentor to the girl, and Hecker encouraged the teen to consider modeling. She introduced the girl to Ellis in early 2007, according to court records.

That June, the girl's mother signed a contract with Hecker and Ellis allowing her daughter to work for the couple in return for Ellis taking modeling photographs of the teen. In November 2007, Hecker, Ellis, the girl and her mother took a trip to Paris together.

Around the same time, an estranged aunt of the teen called Newport Beach police and said she was troubled by how much time her niece was spending with Ellis and Hecker, according to testimony by a detective at the couple's preliminary hearing.

Newport Beach Police Det. Penny Freeman said investigators checked the couple's criminal history, found no record and felt they did not have enough information to follow up with the girl or her mother. Still concerned, the aunt approached a private investigator, who watched the girl for a week in June 2008.

The investigator's surveillance video showed Hecker picking the alleged victim up from school, dropping her off at Ellis' Newport Beach apartment or at the Fashion Island mall, where she would be greeted by Ellis, Freeman testified. One video showed the girl and Ellis eating lunch at a mall restaurant, kissing on the lips and touching affectionately, he said.

The private investigator, Thomas Martin, took the girl and her mother into the Newport Beach Police Department with the evidence he had collected.

Freeman described Ellis as manipulative and said the girl was naive and in love.

"I truly believe that [the girl] loves him," the detective said in an interview this week. "I don't know if it's a genuine relationship the other way around."

The girl told police that Hecker encouraged her to have a relationship with Ellis, according to Freeman's testimony. The teen said she had sex with Ellis, sometimes while Hecker was in the same apartment working on the computer or cooking dinner for the three of them, according to Freeman.

Ellis and Hecker were arrested in July 2008. When police searched Ellis' home, Freeman testified, they found two framed photos of the girl on his bed stand.

Shortly after the arrests, the alleged victim received a text message from Hecker's cellphone signed "J," the initial of Ellis' first name, according to Freeman's testimony. The message asked the girl whether her mother would consent to her marrying at 16.

Ellis' attorney, Ronald G. Brower, did not returns calls seeking comment. Hecker's attorney said his client had no knowledge of a sexual relationship between Ellis and the girl, and he accused the teen's mother of manipulating her daughter to implicate Hecker.

"She felt stupid and betrayed because she didn't see it herself," said Hecker's lawyer, Randy Collins.

The girl's mother did not return a message requesting comment.

In December, Robert VanHoy, an attorney representing the alleged victim, successfully asked an Orange County judge to lift a protective order preventing Ellis from having contact with the girl, who had turned 18 two weeks earlier. On Feb. 28, the couple wed in Laguna Hills, according to a copy of the marriage certificate.

VanHoy did not return calls seeking comment.

Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Drew Haughton said the alleged victim stopped cooperating after hiring her attorney. He described the teenager as the "linchpin" of the case against Hecker but said the prosecution of Ellis would continue.

"Whether they're married or not today," Haughton said, "it doesn't affect substantial evidence that there was an inappropriate sexual relationship between the defendant and a 15-year-old."

cray17
04-25-2011, 03:50 AM
To quote WWE Superstar The Miz...

REALLY?! REALLY?!? :mad:

I swear, some people... :(