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O.C. photographer's fiancee testifies

July 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The fiancee of a famous photographer, who is under arrest in an underage sex case, has surrendered. She is charged with aiding and abetting her boyfriend in luring a 14-year-old girl into a sexual relationship. The woman has appeared in court in Newport Beach Thursday.Michelle Hecker left the courthouse without saying a word. The 31-year-old faces a number of charges, including rape and lewd acts involving a 15-year-old girl.

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"She was able to gain the trust and confidence of the victim's family," said Orange County Deputy District Attorney Drew Haughton.

Hecker is charged along with her fiance Jason Ellis. Ellis, the 33-year-old photographer, was featured on a talk show discussing his work and the world of modeling, appearing with some of the models who've posed for him.

According to Ellis's Web site, his work has included Calvin Klein ads. His photos have been featured in magazines such as Elle and Maxim.

Authorities suspect the Newport Beach resident promised the alleged victim help with her modeling career. Instead he was having unlawful sex with her. He met the teen through Hecker.

"We've charged her with aiding and abetting," said Haughton. "The theory is she helped the other defendant, Mr. Ellis, in coaxing this victim into the relationship with him."

Hecker's accused of picking up the girl at her parents' house, pretending they were going horseback riding, when she allegedly took her to spend time alone with Ellis at his home.

The alleged crimes go back nearly a year, stopping last month after the teen's family hired a private investigator, who then turned his findings over to police.

Hecker and Ellis face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

 

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