By: Yuritza Arroyo
Passaic County authorities announced that Julio Mejia, 43, from Wharton, was found guilty of second-degree Sexual Assault, fourth-degree Criminal Sexual Contact, third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and second degree Luring or Enticing a Child after a jury trial.
According to officials, on November 19, 2019, the Prospect Park Police Department received a report that a minor victim was sexually assaulted by a ride-share driver, later identified as the defendant, Julio Mejia.
Officials say thereafter, evidence was collected, and multiple witnesses were interviewed, including the child victim.
The victim disclosed that Mr. Mejia and the victim had sexual intercourse after she took a Lyft ride on August 30, 2019, that they continued to communicate via text message over the next several weeks, and that they later had sexual intercourse for a second time.
According to the authorities, at the time of his arrest, Mr. Mejia was an active member of the armed services. On September 20, a petit jury convicted Mr. Mejia of second-degree Sexual Assault in fourth-degree Criminal Sexual Contact, third-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and second-degree Luring or Enticing a Child.
Officials say a sentencing hearing is scheduled before Judge Portelli on February 9.
Mr. Mejia was remanded to the Passaic County Jail pending sentence. The sentencing exposure on second-degree Sexual Assault is five to ten years in New Jersey State Prison; on fourth-degree Criminal Sexual Contact, it is a maximum of eighteen months in New Jersey State Prison; on third-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, it is three to five years in New Jersey State Prison; and on second-degree Luring or Enticing a Child it is five to ten years in New Jersey State Prison.
Mr. Mejia will be subject to Megan’s Law registration requirements and Parole Supervision for Life.