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Well-Known Photog Given Community Service For Underage Sex Crime

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

SANTA ANA (CBS) — A well-known photographer charged with having sex with a 15-year-old girl pleaded guilty Friday to felony unlawful sex and was sentenced to perform 30 days of community service.

The case became problematic to prosecute said the DA because the victim stopped cooperating and married the defendant when she became of age.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Craig Robison also placed Jason James Ellis on three years of probation, according to court records.

Three felony counts of lewd act on a child, and single felony counts apiece of sexual penetration of a victim younger than 16 by a foreign object, and oral copulation of a person younger than 16, were dismissed today, according to court records.

All charges against Ellis’ former fiancee, Michelle Hecker, were dismissed March 25, according to court records. She was charged in July 2008 as an aider and abetter.

Orange County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Haughton asked that the charges be dismissed because he said in March that he did not have enough evidence to prove his case.

Hecker met the victim, who shared her passion for horseback riding, when she was 14 years old, according to prosecutors who initially alleged she introduced the girl to Ellis to help her with a modeling career.

Between August 2007 and June 2008, Ellis took the girl on dates to the movies and to dinner while kissing and touching her in public, prosecutors alleged when they filed charges against him.

The girl’s parents eventually grew suspicious and hired a private investigator to follow Ellis and their daughter, prosecutors said.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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