ROCKLAND — A 35-year-old Camden man accused of holding a woman against her will for more than a week and sexually assaulting her last year was sentenced Thursday to a year in jail on lesser charges.

Richard J. Ellis entered no contest pleas Sept. 8 in the Knox County court to aggravated assault, criminal threatening, and violating a condition of release. More serious charges of kidnapping and gross sexual assault were dismissed.

Justice Daniel Billings accepted the sentence agreement reached between the district attorney’s office and defense and sentenced Ellis to four years in jail with all but one year suspended. Ellis has been held since his arrest in October 2021 and is expected to soon be released. Ellis was also placed on probation for three years and must undergo counseling, attend domestic violence court, and complete a domestic violence treatment program.

Deputy District Attorney Christopher Fernald said the agreement was reached after the victim wrote a letter to the court, saying she did not want to testify at trial. Jury selection had been scheduled for next week.

The court appointed the woman an attorney, Marina Sideris, to represent her interests.

The victim and her attorney attended the Sept. 8 court hearing that was held via Zoom. The woman did not speak during the hearing. Ellis was at the Knox County Jail and participated via Zoom.

Sideris said her client completely supported the sentence agreement negotiated between the state and defense.

The prosecutor said the district attorney’s office has never forced a victim of a sexual assault to testify which it could do by serving a subpoena on the woman. In lieu of her testimony, the decision was made to reach the agreement where Ellis would be convicted of the aggravated assault and misdemeanor charges.

A no contest plea results in a conviction as if he had pleaded guilty. The defendant could contest the claims in any future civil matter were it to arise.

Ellis has a prior domestic violence assault conviction and a domestic violence terrorizing conviction, Fernald said. Ellis was also convicted in January 2022 of a February 2021 assault against a woman outside a convenience store in Union. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Justice Billings cautioned Ellis that if he violated probation over the next three years, he could end up serving a portion or all of the suspended sentence of three years.

According to an affidavit filed in court last year by Camden Police Detective Sgt. Curt Andrick, shortly before 7 a.m. Sept. 15, 2021 the Camden Police Department responded to a residence on Park Street for a report of a woman in distress. Camden Police met with the woman and called an ambulance. The woman had two black eyes and multiple bruises on her face, according to an affidavit filed in court by Camden police.

An investigation was started by Detective Sergeant Andrick. From the investigation, it was alleged the victim was held against her will in the Park Street residence for more than a week. During this time, the suspect took the victim’s cell phone, car keys and glasses away. The woman reported to police that every time she tried to get up, he would assault her.

During the incident, the victim was assaulted numerous times, according to police.

Correction: The victim sent a letter to the court not the district attorney’s office saying she did not want to testify. And the deputy district attorney said the office has never forced a victim of sexual assault to testify against their wishes.