A Dorchester man who fled the state 25 years ago after he was indicted for sexually assaulting two boys left in his care has finally been brought to justice.
John Hartin, 48, was convicted by a Suffolk Superior jury last Wednesday of five counts of child rape. He was sentenced to 12 to 14 years in state prison on Tuesday.
Hartin was indicted in 1993, but fled before he was brought to trial. He was arrested in Walkertown, North Carolina, in June 2016, where he had been living under the name Jay Matthew Carter.
Hartin was in a romantic relationship with a relative of one victim. The second victim was that boy's friend. He sexually assaulted the two boys repeatedly over time, separately and together.
The two victims were between the ages of 6 and 9 when the assaults took place.
On Tuesday, the two victims— now grown men— confronted Hartin in a Boston courtroom before his sentencing.
The first victim man described his capture and conviction as “this liberating sense of freedom.”
“For the first time in 23 years, I felt justice was done,” he said of the jury’s decision, according to District Attorney Dan Conley’s office. “It’s taken a toll on me and my family. I will always have to live with the nightmares. But I know he is locked away and he can’t hurt anyone else. I can only hope and pray no other child has to go through what I went through.”
The second survivor said: “When I was a 6-year-old boy, you took everything from me. You robbed me of my innocence and took my sense of security away from me.”
Prosecutors has pressed for a sentence of 25 to 30 years in state prison, followed by 10 years of probation. Judge Linda Giles ordered him to prison for 12 to 14 years, tacking on the 10 years of probation with “orders to stay away from the victims, their families, and any child under 18 without a parent or guardian.”
DA Conley saluted the victims for their courage.
“For all they’ve grown, and for all the courage they’ve shown, these survivors told us that inside them was still a scared and wounded child. I hope they take some strength from the jury’s verdict and the chance to finally confront their abuser, and I hope other survivors who haven’t yet disclosed know that they will always find a safe, supportive environment in our office.”
The search for Hartin included a billboard campaign, $25,000 cash reward and a profile on America’s Most Wanted.