BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. (WMBB) — A man who sexually abused a 7-year-old girl was sentenced to life in prison this week.

Shane Whitfield, 53, entered an open plea of No Contest to Lewd and Lascivious Molestation and Lewd and Lascivious Conduct. The defendant admitted to sexually assaulting the child over a 2-year-period in 2019-20.

During Thursday’s sentencing, the victim’s mother said her child is afraid to go outside, afraid to use a restroom by herself in public, has frequent nightmares, and remains “terrified,” according to a news release from the State Attorney’s Office.

“She has severe anxiety from the trauma that he caused,” she said. “She has frequent nightmares that affect her sleep and her daily living. Hearing her cry at night because of the nightmares breaks my heart.

“(She) will get through this because she is a strong child,” the mother continued. “But the limits he has put on her, at times are so severe, that there are days that I don’t know if she will make it.” 

Whitefield was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.