Corona del Mar photographer Jason James Ellis, whose work has graced the covers of Elle, Maxim and numerous muscle and fitness magazines, has pleaded guilty to statutory rape for luring a 14-year-old girl into a sexual relationship.
Ellis, 36, married her in February, three months after she turned 18. She did not cooperate with prosecutors who reached this plea deal: three years probation, registration as a sex offender for the length of the probation and 30 days in jail to be served as community service.
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Taking the deal was a good call: Ellis was looking at six felonies, including lewd acts on a child and unlawful sexual intercourse, that could have put him in prison for seven years for having sex with the girl in 2007 and 2008. All but the statutory rape count were dismissed with the guilty plea.
Ellis' then live-in fiancée Michelle Hecker was originally accused of helping lure the girl by promising her a modeling contract, but an accomplice charge against Hecker was later dropped.