Monday in state Superior Court, an Ohio woman convicted of extorting thousands of dollars from a Greenwich investor last year and violating her probation narrowly avoided a jail sentence.
Dawn Jessop, 29, of Mansfield, Ohio, stood impassively as prosecutors announced their agreement to a conditional discharge, a more severe form of probation that would allow Jessop to return home instead of going to prison.
After discussing with the victim’s attorney, Assistant State’s Attorney David Applegate determined that a five-year suspended sentence followed by four years of restricted release would be reasonable.
Applegate emphasised, however, that Jessop could not profit from her prior crime and could not contact Stephen Dent.
Jessop, who dyed her blonde hair brown for the appearance, informed the judge that she understood the terms. Christopher Jessop, her husband, observed from the benches.
Judge Richard Comerford stated that he would agree with the prosecution, but hinted that he had originally envisioned a harsher punishment for Jessop.
Mark Sherman, Jessop’s attorney, stated after the sentencing that the defendants are eager to put this issue behind them.
Sherman stated, “Hopefully, this brings an end to a humiliating chapter in my clients’ life.” “Dawn and Chris are currently anticipating their return to Ohio, where they will lead honest, offline lives.”
The Jessops were convicted of first-degree theft last year after police alleged that they conned former Riverside resident Dent after meeting him on www.SeekingArrangement.com, a “exclusive sugar daddy dating website” where men pay women for company.
Christopher Jessop was sentenced to 18 months in prison in May 2009, whilst Dawn Jessop, who was described to as Dent’s “sugar baby,” was given three years of probation and a five-year suspended jail term.
When Dawn Jessop returned to Ohio, she was charged with a felony narcotics offence and placed on probation. Then, in September 2009, according to the Mansfield News Journal, Jessop was arrested after Ohio police discovered she had violated her curfew, driven with a restricted licence, and possessed pornographic content on her cell phone. Police discovered OxyContin in the car as well. A court ordered her re-arrest once Connecticut authorities became aware of the Ohio case. In August, she admitted to the offence, but it was unknown if she would face jail time.
After Dawn Jessop contacted Dent online, she and her accomplice blackmailed him with photographs and chat logs until he paid them $50,000.
The police intervened when the Jessops travelled to Connecticut to collect additional funds.
Dent had a network of women, or “slaves,” with whom he conversed on the website. According to police records, he spent upwards of $200,000 for friendship and, in some instances, sex. He was never formally accused of a crime. Several instances of extortion have occurred as a result of Dent’s internet contacts.
While the Jessop part of the case has concluded, a lady called the “chief slave” of the internet organisation is presently facing charges and has chosen to go to trial. Patricia Miller of Michigan is also accused with extortion against Dent. According to her attorney, it is uncertain when the trial will be held.
“Despite allegations that Patricia was the principal sex slave in this virtual harem, her behaviour never to the level of criminality,” said Sherman, who also represented Miller. Each to his or her own, particularly behind the closed doors of Internet chat rooms.