Elizabeth man convicted for sexual assault, attempted abduction of student walking to school

A Union County jury has returned guilty verdicts against an Elizabeth man who grabbed a young girl off the street as she walked to school in 2016 and sexually assaulted her before a good Samaritan intervened, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Monday.

Jair Ramirez, 43, was convicted on charges of second-degree sexual assault, second-degree luring, third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and fourth-degree lewdness following an approximately three-week trial before state Superior Court Judge Daniel R. Lindemann and several hours of jury deliberation spread over two days last week.

Shortly before 8 a.m. on Friday, September 30, 2016, the then-10-year-old victim was walking to school on the 200 block of Orchard Street in Elizabeth when Ramirez approached her with his pants unzipped and genitals exposed, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor and Special Victims Unit Supervisor Caroline Lawlor, who prosecuted the case.

Ramirez grabbed the victim and started dragging her between two houses when a resident of the neighborhood, an Elizabeth Public Schools Spanish teacher, noticed what was going on and started yelling loudly in an attempt to dissuade him and alert others to what was going on, Lawlor said.

Ramirez stopped what he was doing, threatened the woman, and then ran away. An Elizabeth Police Department investigation led by Detective Mike Gonzalez, later expanding to also involve the Special Victims Unit, identified Ramirez as a suspect in the case, and he was arrested shortly thereafter, with data from a personal GPS device proving he was in the area of the crime when it occurred.

Special Victims Unit Detective Keyla Live assisted the prosecution at trial. 

Sentencing in this case has been tentatively scheduled for next month, at which time Ramirez will face a sentence of up to 10 years in state prison.