Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn says a 61-year-old former New Bedford man convicted of sex crimes against children has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison.

John Rodrigues pleaded guilty last month to indictments charging him with two counts of rape of a child with force, three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person under 14, and one count of attempted indecent assault and battery on a person under 14.

Prosecutors say most of the rapes and molestation occurred in New Bedford from 1995 through 1997. In August 2000, the defendant attempted to molest his young neighbor, but the victim stopped him and told her mother. This disclosure led two other young girls to also come forward to report their prior victimization. The defendant, however, fled the state immediately after the August 2000 incident.

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Rodrigues lived "on the lam" in South Carolina for 17 years before he was located in 2017 and apprehended.

Between 1995 and 1997, this defendant sexually assaulted two pre-teen girls in New Bedford on multiple occasions. These two victims, who are now 27 and 34 years old, both submitted written victim impact statements to the court during the defendant's sentencing hearing on March 23.

They both described how the crimes perpetrated against them had long-lasting effects on their lives.

"The defendant took advantage of his position of trust and committed numerous acts of sexual abuse against his young nieces and a third victim. After getting caught, he fled to South Carolina where he was apprehended 17 years later," District Attorney Quinn said.

Quinn added, "I commend the victims for coming forward and for their perseverance in trying to move on with their lives despite the terrible trauma caused by the defendant. I hope they can find some sense of peace."

Information from the Bristol County District Attorney's Office