An Elizabeth man who grabbed a 10-year-old girl as she walked to school and dragged her down an alleyway while he exposed himself to her was given the maximum sentence of 20 years for his crimes, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday.
The now-13-year-old victim and her mother attended the sentencing, authorities said.
Jair Ramirez, 43, approached the girl on the morning of Sept. 30, 2016, as she walked down the 200 block of Orchard Street. Ramirez grabbed the girl and began dragging her down an alley between two houses while his pants were unzipped and his genitals visible.
A teacher in the Elizabeth Public School system witnessed the attack and began to yell in order to scare Ramirez off, authorities said. Ramirez let the go girl, threatened the teacher and ran.
Ramirez, who has an extensive criminal history, was identified as a suspect and arrested not long after the incident.
“She was afraid that something even worse was going to happen to her … and didn’t know if she would ever see (her mother) again,” Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor said of the victim.
The girl needed months of therapy and is still fearful of walking in public, Lawlor added.
Lawlor also singled out the teacher who stopped the attack, thanking her for her assistance.
“We’re lucky that she was there,” Lawlor said, noting that “by fate, she had to move her car” at the precise moment the incident took place.
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