A convicted sex offender, accused of trying to rape a 16-year-old girl as she walked to her Fairfield home from school last year, was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison.
Eric Julian, 26, of Crimson Lane, Fairfield, pleaded guilty under the Alford Doctrine to first-degree unlawful restraint and violation of probation under a plea bargain.
He was sentenced by Superior Court Judge John Kavanewsky to five years in prison, suspended after he serves 18 months, followed by four years probation. The judge also ordered Julian to be monitored electronically during his probation, register as a sex offender and have no more contact with the girl.
Julian was out of prison only two months after serving time in a case in which he was accused of kidnapping and raping two women, when police said he attacked the Fairfield girl.
Standing at the defense table with a full beard and long black hair falling about his orange prison jumpsuit, Julian told the judge he understood his guilty plea in the case.
“There is a risk I will be found guilty,” he added.
A plea filed under the Alford Doctrine means the defendant doesn’t admit guilt, but concedes he could be found guilty of the charges and face a more severe sentence if he went to trial. The judge then finds him guilty.
Julian initially faced charges of second-degree kidnapping and third-degree sexual assault.
Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Howard Stein told the judge he agreed to enter into a plea bargain after discussing the case with the girl’s father, who sat in the front row of the spectators’ section of the courtroom during the proceedings.
“It is a close call on whether the state would ultimately prove this case at trial,” Stein told the judge. “I discussed this with the victim’s father and he was concerned about his daughter coming into court and having to confront Mr. Julian.” The victim’s father told the judge that he agreed with the plea bargain.
“This was a disposition that was reached after a great deal of discussion of the parties and I urge your honor to accept it,” added Julian’s lawyer, Gary Mastronardi.
Last Sept. 9, Julian was released from prison after serving a five-year prison term on kidnapping charges. He had initially been accused of raping two women on separate occasions after picking them up in his truck in Bridgeport. Sexual assault charges were later dropped, however, when the victims refused to testify against him.
In the latest case, a 16-year-old Fairfield girl was walking home from Fairfield Ludlowe High School last Nov. 14 when she was confronted by Julian, who put a hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming. police said. Julian then dragged the girl into a rear yard, and threatened the girl, saying that he had a knife.
Police said Julian pushed the girl to the ground and began to remove her pants. When she resisted, police said, Julian began choking her.
The girl managed to cry for help, and police said Julian got worried and ran off. The girl then called her mother.
Police said they searched the area, but did not find the suspect although witnesses recalled seeing a man run through the area.
A few days later, however, police said they received a phone call from a woman who claimed she had been the victim of a sexual assault by Julian in 2002 and was concerned he could be the man being sought. Police said they later showed photos to the 16-year-old and she picked out Julian’s photo as the man who had attacked her.
“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”