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Scotch Plains Man Convicted on All Counts of Sexual Assault of Minor

Union County Scotch Plains

A Scotch Plains man has been convicted of repeatedly sexually assaulting a young girl over the course of two years, according to Union County Prosecutor William Daniel.

According to officials, following a jury trial before Union County Superior Court Judge Thomas Isenhour, Jeff Banatte, 37, was convicted Tuesday on charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, two counts of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact, and two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

This investigation was initiated after a referral from the Scotch Plains Police Department and was led by Sergeant Annie Coll of the Special Victims Unit of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Bryan Tiscia, who prosecuted the case, the investigation revealed the juvenile victim was sexually assaulted by Banatte on multiple occasions when she was between the ages of 13 and 15.

“We are grateful for the collaboration from the Scotch Plains Police Department who assisted our Office in bringing this suspect to justice,” Prosecutor Daniel said upon hearing the verdict. “We hope this conviction can bring some small measure of comfort to the victim and her family.”

Sentencing has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, October 21st, before Judge Isenhour.

At that time, Banatte could face a sentence of up to twenty years in State Prison with an 85% period of mandatory parole ineligibility under the State’s No Early Release Act (NERA) on his first-degree conviction.