HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) - A woman who falsely accused an innocent man of sexual assault was sentenced Monday afternoon.
Elizabeth Coast received a five year jail sentence with all but two months suspended. She will also have to pay the man she accused, Jonathon Montgomery, $90,000 in restitution for the 4 years he spent in prison for a crime he did not commit. Coast will serve her sentence on weekends beginning Saturday August 24.
On Monday, Coast spoke to only to WAVY.com Monday and apologized to Montgomery saying, "I am very sorry for the mistake that I have made and the lie that I told. This is me taking responsibility for that."
In 2008, Coast accused Jonathon Montgomery of sexually assaulting her when she was 10. Montgomery would go on to spend the next several years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, until Coast came forward and recanted her claims.
Coast was arrested and charged with perjury and pled guilty to the charge in May. There was no plea agreement.
In court Monday, Coast said she lied about the sexual assault because she didn't want to disappoint her mother, who was portrayed as a heavy handed disciplinarian. Coast's mother caught her reading adult material, and that is when the lies began -- blaming the porn on the made-up sexual assault.
"I never forgot about Jonathan," Coast said Monday, choking back tears. "My life was ruined by my lie, and so was his. I decided to become serious about my faith and to give up the lie. I may go to jail, but I have to right this wrong. I selfishly tried to protect myself."
Coast's attorney, Ron Smith, made the point in court that Coast came forward about her lie. She didn't have to come forward, but she did.
"She came forward, knowing the consequences, knowing she could go to the penitentiary for ten years. She pleaded guilty, and began telling the truth," Smith said.
Smith's point resonated with Judge Bonnie Jones, who gave Coast a sentence that some would say is lenient. The two moths she must spend in jail will be served on the weekends so that Coast can continue working.
"She should be pleased. She could have received ten years," Smith said. "Two months was a gift."
Coast finally told the truth, and she got credit for that.
"Do you want to give a big sentence to someone who has done what she did? People won't come forward if the message is we are going to lock you up," said Smith.
Stay with WAVY.com for more on this developing story.
Norfolk Police are investigating the cause of death for male found unconscious on the beach.
Newport News Police have arrested a man officers say drove into the wall of a car wash not once, but twice, and they're thanking WAVY for helping.
A Newport News mother was arrested on a charge of child neglect after her son was found alone Saturday, according to police.