No prison: 86-year-old NJ child molester gets to live out life in lap of luxury
DEAL — An 86-year-old man who is part of a well-to-do family at the Jersey Shore will not see a single day behind bars for molesting a minor for over a decade.
Hal Sitt was sentenced late last month on a single count of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact. According to Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey, the abuse took place at his home in Deal and at a park in Ocean Township multiple times from 1997 to 2008.
"We hope that the resolution of this case sends a clear message to perpetrators and victims alike: it doesn’t matter how long ago the abuse occurred, or what age the defendant is now – such monstrous crimes demand a reckoning,” Linskey said.
But as part of his plea agreement, Sitt will not serve any prison time. Instead, he will be able to live the rest of his life in luxury at his family home in Deal. Prosecutors said that the deal was only reached after discussions with the victim.
The prominent Sitt family owns more than a dozen properties throughout Deal, The Real Deal reported, including a multi-million-dollar 4,352 square-foot home on Brighton Avenue where authorities last had as one of his addresses. The street is a block away from the beach and the Deal Casino Beach Club.
Large sections of the tiny town, especially expensive homes by the oceanfront, are owned by New York City real estate moguls.
Justice years after first coming forward
According to a criminal complaint obtained by New Jersey 101.5, the victim told investigators that she first reported Sitt to a camp counselor in 2009. Although police were notified then, she declined to provide a formal statement.
The complaint and affidavit filed by investigators do not explain why the victim declined to make a statement back in 2009 but there are many reasons why victims of sexual assault and domestic violence often decline to come forward or cooperate with prosecutors, including feelings of shame, fear of consequences and lack of support.
More than a decade later, however, the victim came forward again. In July 2021, police were able to record a call between the victim and Sitt in which he admitted the abuse, according to the complaint.
While Sitt will not see the inside of a prison, his sentence includes paying $104,302.88 in restitution to the victim. He must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and serve five years of probation.
New Jersey 101.5 has reached out to an attorney for Sitt for comment.
Editor's note: In an earlier version of the story, the prosecutor's office provided an incorrect amount in restitution.