A former school bus driver who fled Massachusetts after he was charged with raping a 13-year-old special needs student in 1998 has been sentenced to up to 17 years in prison.
Prosecutors say 44-year-old Henry Gonzalez was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child.
Authorities say he picked up the girl at her Saugus home, but instead of taking her to school, took her to a Lynn apartment and raped her. He left her at a mall and she walked four miles to her school in Melrose where she reported the attack.
Gonzalez had been scheduled for trial in 2000 but he fled to his native Dominican Republic, where he was arrested last year.
He was linked to the rape through DNA.