Less than four months after turning 18, Scott Ellis was sentenced Thursday to nine years in prison for two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks imposed two eight-year prison terms, ordering all but one year to be served at the same time.
A jury found Ellis guilty of both counts on Sept. 17 after a two-day trial. Although police arrested Ellis when he was only 17, he was tried as an adult because of the charges' severity.
Ellis was accused of molesting a 6-year-old girl. She and a social worker who interviewed her testified at the trial. Jurors also saw the social worker's videotaped meeting with the girl.
Defense attorney David Mallet argued prosecutors failed to present physical evidence against Ellis and suggested the girl made up the story.
Kathie Nutt, Ellis' mother, said after leaving court Thursday she believes her son is innocent.
"I don't think the jury got fair information," she said.
Mallet said after leaving court Ellis "almost undoubtedly" will appeal.
Ellis did not testify at the trial. Before he was sentenced Thursday, he told Weeks he made the most of the 10 months he has spent at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center since his arrest.
"I've held a job and received my GED," he said, referring to a high school equivalency certificate.
Weeks said that in sentencing he had to consider the prospect of rehabilitation and the message his sentence would send to the community about the crimes' severity.
The state sets a presumptive sentence of eight years for the charge Ellis was convicted of, but judges can increase or decrease the term if there are reasons. Weeks said he saw no legal reasons for leniency or harsher sentences. That left the question of how much of the prison terms would overlap, he said.
"I believe the allegations to be true and I believe the jury reached the right verdict, and you need to deal with the facts," Weeks said.
Tony Carroll can be reached at email@example.com.
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