Jury finds Westport man guilty of child rape

A Westport man awaits sentencing after a jury found him guilty Thursday of child rape.

After deliberating Tuesday and Wednesday, a Fall River Superior Court jury found Edward Pacheco Jr., 41, of 70 Forge Road, Westport, guilty on Thursday morning of six of the eight charges against him.

Prosecutors say that Mr. Pacheco had become friendly with the victim’s family when the girl was 12 years old, a friendship that led to sexual intimacy before the girl was 14, the level of which progressed before and after she reached her 16th birthday. The crimes happened both in Fall River and in Westport, the prosecution said.

The jury found Mr. Pacheco guilty of two counts of statutory rape, one count of child rape by force, one count of rape of a person age 16 or over, and counts of intimidating a witness and violating a restraining order.

The jury found him not guilty of indecent assault and battery on a person younger than age 14, and not guilty of raping the girl in Westport after her 16th birthday.

The Fall River Herald reports that Mr. Pacheco did not take the stand in his own defense, a move that prevented prosecutor Silvia Rudman from bringing up Mr. Pacheco’s 1996 guilty plea to indecent assault on a person older than 14, a crime for which he was on probation. In 2001, he was imprisoned for several months for violating the terms of his probation on that count, the newspaper reported.

Mr. Pacheco’s victim in this case did testify during the four-day trial.

Sentencing is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 11, at 3 p.m. in The Fall River Justice Center. Mr. Pacheco could receive up to a life sentence, with possibility of parole after 15 years.

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