- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) - A former Massachusetts middle school teacher has been sentenced to up to 18 years in prison for raping a young girl.

James Parks was convicted Wednesday in Hampshire Superior Court of several charges, including three counts of child rape aggravated by age difference.

The judge said she gave the 56-year-old Parks a severe sentence because “he clearly took advantage of a very young, very vulnerable child.”

Parks, of Southampton, is a former science teacher at West Springfield Middle School. The victim was not a student. Parks assaulted her when she was between 12 and 15.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette (https://bit.ly/17ukSqw ) reports that the victim, who testified at trial, said in an impact statement that she still has flashbacks and nightmares, but she forgives Parks and wants him to get help.

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Information from: Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, Mass.), https://www.gazettenet.com

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