Tiverton man sentenced to 10 years in state prison for first-degree child molestation

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Tiverton man has been sentenced in Newport County Superior Court to serve 10 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) after pleading nolo contendere to first-degree child molestation against a female victim under the age of 14 in 2022.


On January 31, 2024, at a hearing before Superior Court Justice William E. Carnes, Jr., the defendant, Joao Morais (age 71) pleaded nolo contendere to two counts of first-degree child molestation. At the hearing, the Court sentenced the defendant to 30 years, with 10 years to serve at the ACI, and a 20-year suspended sentence with 30 years of probation. The Court further issued a no contact order between the defendant and his victim. Additionally, the defendant is required to register as a sex offender, must attend sex offender counseling, is subject to community supervision requirements under state law, and will be subject to lifetime GPS monitoring upon release.


“Far too often, sexual assaults against children at the hands of a so-called “trusted” adult remain beneath the public radar screen. Yet make no mistake, this is an ongoing and devastating problem in our communities,” said Attorney General Neronha. “Time and time again, as our prosecutors work with detectives and advocates to bring these criminals to justice, I am impressed by the incredible courage displayed by these child victims and their families. I am also grateful to the men and women of the Tiverton Police Department for helping to deliver justice through their outstanding police work.”


Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on a date between February 23, 2022, and August 28, 2023, the defendant sexually assaulted a female victim under the age of 14, who was known to him, at a home in Tiverton.


“Cases such as these are beyond tragic for victims, their loved ones, and entire communities,” said Chief Patrick W. Jones of the Tiverton Police Department. “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 of the Office of the Attorney General and Detective Lieutenant Brendan McKinnon of the Tiverton Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of the case.