Unless an appeal is launched and succeeds, the Long Branch 55-year-old found guilty of sexually abusing a seven-year-old girl in Eatontown should expect to be at least 80 before stepping outside of prison again.

Prison cell block

Edgar Mejia was sentenced to 30 years on Thursday in Freehold for his November 2016 conviction for first-degree aggravated sexual assault, and a third-degree count endangering the welfare of a child. The convictions were merged for sentencing purposes.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni said that it's Monmouth's first sentence following a trial meeting terms of the Jessica Lunsford Act, requiring Mejia to serve at least 25 years before becoming eligible for parole. The law took effect May 15, 2014, two months before the incident.

Additionally, Mejia's sentence incorporates New Jersey's No Early Release Act, requiring him to serve 85 percent of his sentence before parole eligibility. Prosecutors said that it brings his earliest consideration to 25 years, six months and two days.

Assuming release in the future, Mejia is also ordered to register as a sex offender under terms of Megan's Law, with lifetime parole supervision.

Mejia was accused of committing the crime in July 2014, while alone with the preteen in a bedroom. The youngster told her mother later the same evening. It then reached Eatontown Police and the Monmouth County Special Victims Unit. Mejia was apprheneded July 21. His trial lasted a month in 2016.

The county's case was led by Assistant Prosecutor Ellyn Rajfer. Mejia's defense attorney was Freehold-based Ryan Moriarty.

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