NYC Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Sex With Underage Girls

NEW YORK (AP) -- A tax lawyer who was accused of paying a woman so he could have sex with her two underage daughters pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of statutory rape and patronizing a prostitute.
James Colliton, married and the father of five, pleaded guilty in exchange for a sentence of one year on each count to run concurrently. Jailed for the past 19 months, he was eligible for immediate release, but the judge kept him locked up.
State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber said he would not release Colliton until he had read a pre-sentencing report and imposed the sentence. The judge scheduled sentencing for Oct. 11.
Colliton, 43, admitted he had sex numerous times with one girl younger than 15 and another under 17 between Dec. 25, 2000, and March 1, 2005. He also admitted he visited a prostitute younger than 17 between August 2000 and February 2004.
Colliton's lawyer, Howard Greenberg, said his client faced a theoretical 30 years in prison if he had been convicted after trial on a 43-count indictment that charged him with numerous counts of rape and sodomy.
Assistant District Attorney Rachel Hochhauser said she was ready for trial but Colliton had agreed to ``take responsibility for his actions'' and plead guilty. She said the victims were told of the disposition of the case and ``supported it.''
Colliton, formerly a tax lawyer at the prestigious Manhattan law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, fled the country in February 2006 after learning that police wanted to talk to him.
Colliton, whose wife and children live in Poughkeepsie, was arrested Feb. 24, 2006, in a motel near in Grimsby, Ontario, near Toronto, after a tip from a gasoline station attendant.
U.S. immigration authorities at Niagara Falls took custody of Colliton, but because of a communications foul-up they released him in upstate New York, a detective from the Toronto police force testified in a pretrial hearing.
New York police found Colliton on March 3, 2006, while he was registered under an alias at a hotel on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
The mother of the two sisters in the case pleaded guilty in April 2006 to endangering the welfare of a child. She admitted she allowed her girls to have sex with Colliton and knew he was giving them money and gifts.
The 38-year-old mother, whose name was withheld to protect her daughters' identities, also admitted that she received money from her daughters and that she had asked Colliton for money directly. She told the court that one girl was 13 years old when she began virtually living at Colliton's Manhattan apartment in 2004.

Could have faced UP TO 30 years, and gets a year? Another OUSTANDING example of our justice system.