BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — SALEM — A Maine man was sentenced to four years in state prison yesterday, after admitting to sexually abusing a North Shore girl over a period of several years starting when she was 8 — crimes her father said have devastated the child.
Jonathan Hare, 31, pleaded guilty to a charge of child rape and seven counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 during a hearing in Salem Superior Court.
The abuse, which the girl disclosed to a relative in 2011, occurred while she was living with her mother in apartments in Salem, Beverly, Marblehead and Gloucester.
Hare, who was a regular visitor to the apartments and later lived with the girl and her mother and siblings, would sneak into her bedroom at night and molest her, warning her not to tell anyone or he’d kill her, prosecutors said.
The girl’s father, in a letter to the court, said the abuse has taken a terrible toll on the child.
It has shattered her self-confidence, he wrote. She struggles in school, and has suffered bullying.
“I see a bright future for my daughter, but I am unable to determine if she sees that for herself,” wrote the father, whose name is being withheld by The Salem News to protect the identity of his daughter.
Prosecutor John Brennan, who has met several times with the victim, called her “a caring, sensitive girl” who had suffered through a “horrifying, tragic set of events which will impact her for the rest of her life.”
The plea agreement, he hoped, will “be a starting point for the healing process.” It spares the girl from having to testify at a trial.
Hare, who had moved to Buckfield, Maine, before his arrest in 2012, has spent nearly two years in custody. That’s in part because his bail in the case was revoked when he was caught trying to contact the girl’s father on Facebook, a violation of a judge’s no-contact order.
Defense lawyer Meredith Reeves said her client wanted to accept responsibility for his actions, “close this chapter and move on.”
The original terms of the plea agreement had called for Hare to spend three years on probation after his release.
However, Judge John Lu called the attorneys to the side of his bench, where he said he believed a longer probation term would be appropriate. As a result, Hare will spend five years on probation after he is released.
Hare was ordered again to have no contact, directly or through third parties or social media, with the girl and her family as a condition of the sentence.
During his probation, Hare will be required to register as a sex offender, undergo an evaluation and treatment for sex offenders as recommended by a probation officer, wear a GPS bracelet, and have no unsupervised contact with children under 16.
He was also ordered to undergo random alcohol and drug testing.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.