NEW BEDFORD — A New Bedford man convicted of sexually molesting a pre-teen girl multiple times will spend two and a half years in jail after receiving the maximum jail term allowed in district court.

The Bristol County District Attorney's Office said that last week, a jury of six convicted 52-year-old Julio Lima of three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person under 14.

Lima sexually molested his live-in girlfriend's young daughter multiple times between 2006 and 2010, when she was eight to 12 years old.

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When the victim told her older sister about the ongoing abuse, Lima called her a liar and told the victim’s mother that if she said it again he would disappear with her children.

The abuse was not officially reported until 2014, when the victim told her half-brother.

He eventually told her biological father about the molestation.

The girl's father then contacted the victim’s school, which filed a report, sparking an investigation by the New Bedford Police.

Lima will serve the maximum possible jail sentence, and must register as a sex offender and undergo sex offender mental health treatment.

He will also be on supervised probation for three years following his release from jail.

“The defendant used his access to the victim to repeatedly molest her from the age of eight to twelve. When confronted with the allegations, the defendant threatened the mother and her children," said Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn.

"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."

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