Elizabeth man sentenced to 25 years for sexually assaulting girl in motel

Jonathan Tavara-Nima

An Elizabeth man has been sentenced to 25 years in state prison for sexually assaulting a young child he was hired to care for, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Friday.

Jonathan Tavara-Nima, 32,  must serve the full 25 years before the possibility of parole under the terms set down Friday by state Superior Court Judge John Deitch.

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 in 2016 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 Monday, May 15, 2017, he told the victim’s mother that he was going to take her to see a film, 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 on U.S. Routes 1&9 in Linden, where he sexually assaulted her.

Tavara-Nima pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree aggravated sexual assault of a minor in November 2017.

“Our lives changed forever on May 15th,” read a statement by the victim’s father that was read into the record Friday. “It took me all my strength and great will to pen these words. The evil acts committed by Jonathan on our innocent daughter are haunting her now and will for the rest of her life.”

Tavara-Nima also will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and be subject to parole supervision for life.

Anyone with additional information about Tavara-Nima’s activities, or anyone who may have hired him to care for a child, is urged to contact Special Victims Unit Detective Josh Rios at 908-965-3809.