A northeast Missouri man will be heading to prison, after being convicted Monday of raping a child for several years.

Ralph Harbit (photo courtesy of the Audrain County Prosecutor’s office)

Audrain County Prosecutor Jacob Shellabarger says 62-year-old Ralph Harbit of Mexico has been convicted of rape and child molestation.

Shellabarger says Harbit raped the girl between 2007 and 2009, adding that the victim was eight to ten years old at the time.

Shellabarger says Harbit also used his position “to abuse and harm her family to keep this girl silent.”

Shellabarger has released a statement, which reads, in part: “Ralph Harbit’s reign of terror through a family that loved and trusted him has caused great damage. Harbit took absolutely no responsibility and showed no remorse in raping and molesting a little girl, and used his position to abuse and harm her family to keep this girl silent. He divided a family and put a young girl in a position where she felt her whole world depended on keeping silent about what Ralph Harbit did to her. Most of us can’t imagine the kind of mental and physical pain and pressure that places on a child, and how damaging it can be.”

An October 20th sentencing date has been set in Mexico, before Judge Wesley Dalton. Harbit faces a sentence of five to 45 years in prison.

Harbit will also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Prosecutor Shellabarger thanks the Mid-Missouri Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse, praising what he calls BACA’s “steady and long-lasting support for the family involved in this case.” Shellabarger also praises investigators from the Mexico Public Safety Department.