MILFORD, Conn. (WTIC and AP) – A Connecticut man who sexually abused a female relative for years starting when she was 5 years old has been sentenced to serve at least eight years in prison.

The New Haven Register reports that 31-year-old Jose Guadarrama was sentenced after pleading guilty to first-degree sexual assault on a child less than 13 years.

The West Haven man could spend 18 years in prison if he violates probation.

Authorities say the girl was abused from the age of 5 until she was 12. She said during a victim impact statement that Guadarrama “took away my childhood.”

Guadarrama apologized in court and said he prays the victim can move forward.

A defense attorney says her client pleaded guilty to spare the victim the trauma of testifying at trial.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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