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Louis Himber, 45, of Methuen, Mass., pleaded guilty in Rockingham County Superior Court on Friday to five counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault. Himber admitted to sexually assaulting the girl starting in March 2004 when she was about 6 years old. The abuse lasted until about a month before it was reported to Londonderry police last April. (JAMES A. KIMBLE)

Mass. man pleads guilty to raping child more than seven years

BRENTWOOD — The co-owner of a Windham day care pleaded guilty on Friday morning to committing a pattern of sexual assaults against a young girl that lasted for seven years, until it was reported to Londonderry police last April.

Louis Himber, 45, of 46 Frye Road in Methuen, Mass., pleaded guilty to five counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault as part of a plea deal with county prosecutors that could keep him in state prison up to 13 years.

Judge Marguerite Wageling accepted Himber's plea during the hearing in Rockingham County Superior Court. Wageling will decide the exact prison term at Himber's sentencing hearing on July 12.

Himber signaled he was headed toward a plea deal in March when he surrendered $50,000 in bail and turned himself in at the county jail.

That allowed him to build up confinement credit toward his prison term.

Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway outlined how the girl's mother found out about the assaults last April 19 by receiving a text message from her daughter.

That led her to confronting Himber, who acknowledged he had been sexually assaulting the girl, starting when she was about age 6.

&#';She confronted him, and he said, &#';I know it was wrong, it happened a long time ago,'&#'; Conway said. &#';He basically apologized and said, &#';I did a bad thing.'&#';

Himber began assaulting the girl in March 2004. It continued until a month before the matter was reported to police, Conway said.

The girl was not connected to Kiddie Academy in Windham, a business that Himber co-owned when he was arrested, according to police.

Londonderry police collected text messages later exchanged between Himber and the girl's mother as evidence.

The girl was interviewed by investigators and child advocacy workers.

Wageling quizzed Himber about giving up his right to a trial and the general terms of his agreement before accepting his guilty plea.

Himber is expected to serve 3 to 6 years on one of the charges and then begin a second prison sentence of 10 to 20 years.

The remaining charges will be suspended sentences that could be imposed within the next decade.

Himber also would be required to undergo the state's sexual offender program before he can qualify for parole.

Wageling will decide the exact prison term after she hears arguments and victim impact statements at the July 12 hearing.

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