BENNINGTON >> A former Benningtonian was sentenced Friday to serve 28 years to life for sexually assaulting a child.

Shawn Bellanger, 36, of Hudson Falls, N.Y. was found guilty by a jury after a trial on Dec. 9, 2015 of repeated aggravated sexual assault of a child, and lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. He was found not guilty of a misdemeanor count of voyeurism - first offense. He had pleaded not guilty to those charges on Nov. 17, 2014. He also pleaded not guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a victim under 13, and repeated aggravated sexual assault, however those charges were dismissed by the state on Dec. 8, 2015.

Life sentences are automatically appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court.

According to Bennington Police, a 10-year-old girl told them that when she was nine, Bellanger forced her into sex acts against her will and sexually assaulted her on a number of occasions. The incidents happened in Bennington.

— Staff reports