Elizabeth man admits to sexual assault of child

An Elizabeth man hired last year to take care of a young child has admitted to sexually assaulting her in a motel, acting Union County Prosecutor Thomas K. Isenhour announced Tuesday.

Jonathan Tavara-Nima, who was 31 when the abuse took place, pleaded guilty Monday before state Superior Court Judge John Deitch to a single count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault.

Tavara-Nima’s May 2017 arrest was the result of a Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit investigation initiated by a referral from the Union Police Department. The investigation revealed that Tavara-Nima was hired by the then-6-year-old victim’s family last year via the website and ultimately entrusted to look after her on a regular basis, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Tracy Boyd, who prosecuted the case.

After his employment as a caregiver ended, Tavara-Nima would still travel to the victim’s home, sometimes uninvited, and take her out to the movies or to a local park, Boyd said. On May 15, 2017, he told the victim’s mother that he was going to take her out 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 results in 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.