• Sex defendant denies contact with another girl
    By Eric Blaisdell
     | May 08,2013
     

    BARRE — The Granite City man accused of having sexual contact with three underage girls, all in separate incidents, has been charged with having contact with another underage girl.

    Jonathan Amell, 20, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Washington County criminal court to violating his conditions of release. If convicted, he faces a maximum of six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

    He is already accused of forcing a 15-year-old girl to have sex with him in November 2011, forcing a 13-year-old to have sex with him in October and having sex with an “extremely intoxicated” 15-year-old girl in December.

    Because of the nature of the charges, Amell is subject to conditions of release set by the court that say he cannot have contact with girls younger than 16. According to the police affidavit, on April 30 police were searching for a 15-year-old girl who had run away from home and found her with Amell at his house.

    In court Thursday, Deputy State’s Attorney Megan Campbell sought to have Amell held without bail. Amell’s attorney, Rosie Chase, argued against that, saying Amell did not have contact with the girl.

    Chase said Amell was sleeping, woke up and came downstairs, saw the girl with two other boys in his home and asked her to leave. Chase said Amell’s mother, Toni Lawrence, 52, who lives with Amell, came home right after Amell woke up and also asked the girl to leave, but before the girl was out of the apartment, the police arrived.

    Chase called Lawrence to testify to what she witnessed, but Lawrence had a slightly different story.

    Lawrence said she came home from work and saw Amell sitting at a computer and the two other boys sitting in the living room. She said she then saw the girl walk out of the bathroom.

    Campbell asked Lawrence if teenagers frequently come to her home. Lawrence said Amell’s friends do frequently come over and they are teenagers. She also said earlier that there is no lock on the front door to the residence and people are constantly walking in and out.

    Judge Thomas Zonay called Chase’s argument that Amell had no contact with the girl “absurd.”

    “Isn’t the evidence reasonable that when this girl came in the house there was contact?” he said. “Even listening to what his mom said, there was some kind of contact.”

    Zonay did not hold Amell without bail, but did say he had concerns about Amell being around people who are under age. Zonay imposed a new condition of release that no one, male or female, under age 21 be allowed in Amell’s residence without his mother present.

    @Tagline:eric.blaisdell

    @timesargus.com

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