BRISTOL - A Wethersfield man charged in a Bristol sex assault has been granted a program that will allow him to avoid prosecution.
Maxwell Church, 19, was enrolled in Accelerated Rehabilitation - a first-time offender program - during a hearing Tuesday in Bristol Superior Court. The program, a pretrial form of probation, is scheduled to last two years - during which time Church must avoid any new arrests.
If Church is successful in the program, his case will be dropped as though he had been found not guilty after a trial. Using the program was part of a disposition worked out between Church’s attorney and a state prosecutor.
The deal included Church spending Christmas and New Year’s in jail on bond as a form of punishment. In exchange, state prosecutor Jeffrey Lee agreed to substitute two charges lodged against Church - those of illegal sexual contact with a victim under 16 years old and second-degree sexual assault: consent, no force or threat - for one count of risk of injury to a minor.
The change in the charges made Church eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitation.
Church, according to Lee, has been accused of having a “consensual, illegal” sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. The prosecutor said the allegations do not involve force of any kind.
According to Lee, the victim’s family didn’t want Church convicted. They were mostly in agreement with the agreement worked out in the case, but they didn’t feel it was necessary for Church to spend the holidays behind bars, Lee has said.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.