A 37-year-old man from Burlington County was sentenced to 15 years in state prison on Wednesday on sexual assault charges, authorities said.
Christopher Elder of Riverside pleaded guilty in February to first-degree aggravated sexual assault and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
Under terms of the plea agreement negotiated by the prosecutor’s office, Elder must serve the entire sentence and will not be eligible for parole, according to Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina.
Three juveniles were sexually assaulted over multiple years, Coffina said.
Upon release, he will be placed on the New Jersey sex offender registry and also be subjected to parole supervision for life, Coffina said.
An investigation began last year after disclosures about the assaults were made by one of the victims to a family member, the prosecutor said.
Elder was taken into custody in September and has been held in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly.
Additional details about the case are being withheld to protect the identity of the victims, according to Coffina.
“The impact on the children is unknown at this time,” said Superior Court Judge Philip E. Haines, who handed down the sentence in Superior Court.
“We don’t know what the full impact will be, and probably won’t know for a number of years. Life is tough enough in an ideal situation, let alone having to go through this," Haines said.
Coffina praised the victims for the courage they showed during the investigation.
“Our hope is that their actions will empower them to heal from their horrible experiences,” Coffina said. “We are gratified that this plea agreement and sentence will spare the victims the pain of reliving the trauma during a trial.”
Elder was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Eife, supervisor of the BCPO Special Victims Unit.
The case was investigated by the BCPO Special Victims Unit and the Burlington Township Police Department, with assistance from the Riverside Township Police Department and the Edgewater Park Township Police Department.
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