Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced Friday that Joao Morais, a 71-year-old resident of Tiverton, has been sentenced to 10 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) after entering a plea of nolo contendere to first-degree child molestation charges involving a female victim under the age of 14 in 2022.
The sentencing took place on January 31, 2024, during a hearing before Superior Court Justice William E. Carnes, Jr. Morais pleaded nolo contendere to two counts of first-degree child molestation. The court imposed a 30-year sentence, with 10 years to be served at the ACI, along with a 20-year suspended sentence and 30 years of probation. A no-contact order between Morais and the victim was issued, and he is now mandated to register as a sex offender, attend sex offender counseling, adhere to community supervision requirements under state law, and undergo lifetime GPS monitoring upon release.
Addressing the gravity of the situation, Attorney General Neronha remarked, “Far too often, sexual assaults against children by individuals considered ‘trusted’ adults go unnoticed by the public. However, this is an ongoing and devastating problem in our communities. The courage shown by these child victims and their families, as well as the commendable efforts of law enforcement, are crucial in delivering justice.”
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that between February 23, 2022, and August 28, 2023, Morais sexually assaulted a female victim under the age of 14 at a residence in Tiverton.
Chief Patrick W. Jones of the Tiverton Police Department expressed the gravity of such cases, stating, “Cases such as these are beyond tragic for victims, their loved ones, and entire communities. I am thankful for the hard work of our officers and investigators, as well as the Office of the Attorney General, for their investigation and successful prosecution of this case.”
Assistant Attorney General Eric A. Batista from the Office of the Attorney General and Detective Lieutenant Brendan McKinnon of the Tiverton Police Department played pivotal roles in leading the investigation and prosecution of the case.
Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!