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.
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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.