New London man sentenced to 9 months in Facebook sex case

A New London man charged with sexually assaulting a teen he met on Facebook in September 2011 was sentenced Thursday to nine months in prison.

Jonathan Chang, 24, charged initially with first-degree sexual assault, had pleaded guilty in Superior Court to the lesser charge of first-degree unlawful restraint. Prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman called the plea agreement a compromise, saying she did not want to minimize the seriousness of the victim's suffering, but that the state may have had trouble proving the charge at a trial. Chang's attorney, Kevin C. Barrs, said the defense agreed with the compromise, "all things considered."

Judge Hillary B. Strackbein imposed the sentence of five years in prison, suspended after nine months served, followed by three years of probation. The judge, noting Chang also had been arrested in a domestic incident with an ex-girlfriend, told him, "You have to learn to respect women." She ordered Chang to undergo sex offender evaluation and any counseling and treatment deemed necessary by the Department of Adult Probation.

Chang had "friended" the 16-year-old victim on Facebook, and they corresponded over the Internet until he invited her to his Montauk Avenue apartment on Sept. 8, 2011, according to the state. The girl said they went to watch a movie in his room when he tried to kiss her. She told him "no."

"Things got way out of hand, and the defendant admitted he had sex with her by force," Ferryman said.

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