Defendant Sentenced to 40 Years for Repeated Sexual Assault of a Child
For Immediate Release: September 5, 2017
On August 31, 2017, John Tyler Ellis, a 54-year-old Alexandria resident, was sentenced in Alexandria Circuit Court to an active sentence of 40 years of incarceration for repeated offenses of sexual abuse against an 11 year-old-child. The defendant was found guilty of seven felony charges: three counts of Forcible Sodomy, three counts of Aggravated Sexual Battery, and one count of Indecent Liberties With a Child.
The defendant’s crimes were exposed in June 2016 when the child’s stepfather discovered text messages on the child’s phone. When asked about the messages, the child disclosed that they were from the defendant.
The child was interviewed at the Center for Alexandria’s Children, a child advocacy center serving the City of Alexandria. The child disclosed that on three occasions, the defendant had lured the child into the home under false pretenses and sexually abused the child.
Prior to this abuse, the defendant was a trusted family friend and neighbor who had known the child for years. Subsequent investigation revealed that the defendant had been sending text messages to the child for several months prior to the abuse, and the defendant had groomed the child to view him as a friend and confidant.
The defendant received an aggregate sentence of 160 years of incarceration, with all but 40 years of the sentence suspended. Upon his release from prison the defendant will be on supervised probation for the remainder of his life and he will be required to register under the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Act.
This case was investigated by Detective Kevin Thomas of the Alexandria Police Department’s Special Victims Unit. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Tassa prosecuted the matter on behalf of the Commonwealth with the assistance of the Director of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Victim Witness Assistance Program, Judy Holl. Mental health providers from the Community Services Board and advocates from the City’s Sexual Assault Center provided support. All of the agencies involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case are members of the City’s Multi-Disciplinary Team(MDT). The MDT conducts collaborative and coordinated investigations that prioritize the child’s safety, well-being, and resilience.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said: “First, my thoughts are with the victim of this horrendous series of sexual assaults and with the victim’s family. There is no doubt that the defendant’s criminal actions have had devastating effect on the victim. However, in my experience the courage and perseverance of sexual assault survivors allows them to rise above the pain and I am certain that the victim in this case has that courage.”
“In any child sexual assault case the women and men who investigate the case and bring the perpetrator to justice suffer the vicarious trauma of living and then reliving the assault of an innocent victim. I wish to commend by name Detective Kevin Thomas of the Alexandria Police Department who lived this case every day for over a year.”
“In Alexandria, we have an outstanding and experienced Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) that brings professionals from many different fields to collectively work on this type of case. Our MDT is an example for other localities to emulate. The City is lucky to have such dedicated people working together for a common cause.”
The defendant is currently in custody in the William G. Truesdale Alexandria Adult Detention Center pending his transfer to the Department of Corrections.