NEW BEDFORD, Mass (WPRI) — A jury of six convicted a New Bedford man of three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person under 14 years of age.
According to the Bristol County District Attorney’s office, Julio Lima, 52, sexually assaulted a pre-teen girl who was known to him on multiple occasions between 2006 and 2010.
When the victim initially told her sister about the abuse, prosecutors said Lima called her a liar and threatened the victim’s mother that he would disappear with her children if she repeated “the lies.”
Prosecutors said the abuse was not officially reported until 2014 when the victim told another family member about it, who would tell her father, who in turn contacted her school. The school filed a report of abuse or neglect to DCF and New Bedford Police investigated.
The case initially went to trial before the COVID-19 pandemic and was declared a mistrial because of outstanding records that needed to be reviewed, according to prosecutors.
Lima was sentenced to the maximum possible jail sentence of 2-and-a-half years on Oct. 21. The presiding judge also ordered Lima to be placed on supervised probation for an additional three years, undergo sex offender mental health treatment and register as a sex offender.
“The defendant used his access to the victim to repeatedly molest her from the age of eight to 12,” Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn said. “When confronted with the allegations, the defendant threatened the mother and her children. The maximum sentences imposed by the court were necessary to adequately punish the defendant for his very offensive conduct.”
“I commend the victim for her perseverance during the lengthy court process and pray that she can move forward with her life,” he continued.