*“I want people to know that they are safe from Paul Hawksley.”

The child that Hawksley repeatedly and forcibly raped eight years ago has been waiting years to be able to say that, says the Taunton Daily Gazette.

After coming forward in 2010 with his story of sexual abuse at the hands of an Easton church youth leader, the young man, whose name is not being published because he is the victim of a sex crime, has watched the criminal case against Hawksley wend slowly through the justice system.

When he heard the verdict on Monday – guilty on all counts – he cried.

“I was in tears. I was overjoyed,” he said in a phone interview with The Enterprise. “I’m working on putting back the pieces and getting my life back together. This gets me a lot closer. Closure is what I’m feeling now.”

Hawksley, 43, of Mansfield, was convicted in Fall River Superior Court on one count of rape of a child with force, two counts of statutory rape of a child and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Hawksley volunteered as a youth leader for the Free Evangelical Fellowship church in Easton in 2003 and 2004, working with sixth-grade boys, whom he befriended.

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