NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — A New Bedford man was convicted last week for rape and molestation of underage victims.

Joel Berberena, 35, was convicted in Fall River Superior Court on indictments charging him with two counts of rape of a child-aggravated by age difference, four counts of indecent assault and battery on a person under the age of 14, and one count each of rape of a child by force and indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14.

The charges came after November 30, 2020, when a 12-year-old girl told her mother she was digitally raped by Berberena when she stayed over the house of Berberena’s relative. The victim told police that she was also sexually molested at least three times during her stay.

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Forensic interviews at Bristol County Children’s Advocacy Center further revealed that Berberena repeatedly digitally raped and sexually molested another close female relative when the girl was between the ages of 12 and 15.

Both victims testified during the trial.

Berberena was sentenced to 23 to 30 years in state prison followed by seven years of supervised probation.

“The defendant engaged in depraved conduct by raping a close relative and another relative’s friend. He took advantage of his access to both victims to rape these two young girls,” District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said.

“I commend the victims for their fortitude and perseverance for testifying in this case under very difficult circumstances," Quinn said. "The lengthy state prison sentence imposed by the court was warranted.”

Missing Children of Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Gallery Credit: Ariel Dorsey

Crime Rate Statistics in SouthCoast Towns

Here are the crime rate statistics for SouthCoast communities, utilizing data from 2022, the most recent year available. Annual data is from the Massachusetts Crime Statistics. The number of crimes is a data collection of total arrests, DUI/OUI charges, violent crimes, and hate crimes. The clearance rate is the number of charged crimes divided by the total number of crimes recorded. We listed the SouthCoast towns alphabetically.

Gallery Credit: Ariel Dorsey

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