John Knott

John Knott was sentenced to up to 30 years in state prison for aggravated felonious sexual assault. (POLICE PHOTO)

OSSIPEE — A Grafton County man was sentenced to up to 30 years in state prison after being convicted of committing aggravated felonious sexual assault two years ago against a then 9-year-old autistic girl in a North Conway hotel.

John Knott, 63, former of Canaan and more recently of Alexandria, was convicted Oct. 10 on a sexual assault that occurred on or about April 15-23, 2017. The jury deliberated for less than one hour before returning the unanimous guilty verdict.

Superior Court Judge Amy Ignatius sentenced Knott to 15-30 years in prison and put him on the sex offender registry.

He can have five years taken off his minimum sentence for completing a sex offender program.

Knott was represented by Lisa Wellman-Ally of Wellman-Ally Law in Claremont.

At trial and sentencing, the state was represented by County Attorney Michaela Andruzzi and Assistant County Attorney Thomas Palermo.

“These are precisely the types of crimes where the state should, and does, seek lengthy incarceration to act as a punishment and a deterrent,” Andruzzi told the Sun. “These acts have an irrevocable and lasting impact on the lives of victims, and perpetrators should have to live with the consequences of their crimes as well.”

The case was originally tried in late May. That trial resulted in a hung jury.

The county attorney’s arguments focused on the selection of a vulnerable victim, someone the defendant hoped either would not speak or would not be believed.

Knott’s case led to the passage of “Jade’s Law” in June. The law allows a parent or guardian to file a protective order on behalf of a minor or his/her ward.

The law is named after the victim in Knott’s case. Knott is related to the victim.

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