FALL RIVER — A 62-year-old New Bedford man was sentenced to serve up to 15 years in state prison last week after pleading guilty to raping his former girlfriend's young daughter, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Michael Avellar pleaded guilty in Fall River Superior Court last Friday to indictments charging him with aggravated rape of a child under the age of 12, aggravated rape of a child over the age of 12, assault with intent to rape a child, indecent assault and battery on a person under 14 years of age, possession of child pornography, assault and battery, assault with a dangerous weapon, violation of a restraining order, and assault and battery on a family or household member.

Avellar started sexually assaulting the young girl at the age of 10 and the rapes continued until the abuse was discovered by the victim's mother when she was 16 years old.

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The abuse was discovered by the young victim's mother in April of 2017 when she witnessed a partially-clothed Avellar quietly exiting the young girl's bedroom. When the mother confronted Avellar, he punched her in the stomach while she was holding their three-year-old child.

During the years of sexual abuse, the defendant raped the victim and molested her. He also threatened her with a gun after learning the girl had been texting with a male peer.

The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office says Avellar has a 27-page criminal record, replete with assaultive behavior.

The case was prosecuted by Second Assistant District Attorney Silvia Rudman, who requested that Judge Raffi Yessayan sentence Avellar to a 15-to-20-year state prison sentence, to be followed by seven years of supervised probation with GPS monitoring.

Judge Yessayan, however, sentenced him to serve a 10-to-15-year state prison term, to be followed by 10 years of supervised probation with GPS monitoring.

"The defendant engaged in violent and despicable conduct against the victims. He repeatedly sexually abused a young victim, starting at age five. He has a long history of committing terrible acts of violence against family members," District Attorney Quinn lamented. "Hopefully this sentence will incapacitate him and prevent him from hurting any more children or women in the future. I commend the victim for her courage in coming forward despite being assaulted and threatened with a gun by the defendant."