- Associated Press - Saturday, April 18, 2015

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) - A northern New Jersey man who fled to Jamaica after pleading guilty to child sex assault charges several years ago is now headed to state prison.

The Record (https://bit.ly/1HjgZ6g) reports Homer Bishop received a five-year sentence Friday, even though the victim tasked that he get a shorter term. He also was ordered to pay $1,825 in restitution to cover the cost of transporting him back to the United States.

Authorities say the 41-year-old Bishop was living under an alias in Jamaica, but they were able to track him down in February after getting information from a tipster.

Bishop was accused of sexually assaulting a young female acquaintance for a year. The victim was 12 when the assaults began, and she told her mother about the abuse when she was 13.

Bishop pleaded guilty in August 2007 to aggravated sexual assault charge and remained free on bail. But he failed to appear for sentencing three months later.

During his sentencing hearing, Bishop’s lawyer read a letter written by the victim. The girl asked that Bishop not receive a lengthy sentence, saying “I do believe that good people make bad decisions. I do believe in redemption.”

The girl also spoke briefly in court, telling the judge “I just want his children to have a father and grow up with a father.”

Prosecutors said the victim’s willingness “to extend grace and forgiveness” to Bishop is a reflection of her maturity and character, not Bishop’s. The judge agreed, and sentenced Bishop to the maximum possible term under the plea agreement.

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Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), https://www.northjersey.com

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