MA child rapist sentenced to prison, victim professes her strength as a survivor
Nearly five years after he was indicted for sexually abusing a child over a period of years, a Dorchester man was sentenced to state prison, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said.
Antonio Centeio, 32, faced sentencing on Tuesday after a jury on June 2, 2021, convicted him of two counts each of aggravated rape of a child and indecent assault and battery of a child and single counts of rape of a child and distributing obscene matter to a child. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Peter Krupp sentenced Centeio to 13 to 15 years in state prison followed by three years of probation. Suffolk prosecutors had recommended a term of 15 to 20 years in state prison and five years of probation. In requesting the lengthy sentence, the Commonwealth cited factors including the ongoing nature of the abuse, the victim’s young and vulnerable age when the abuse started and Centeio’s use of his position of trust with the victim’s family to perpetrate the abuse.
“This predator stole a young person’s childhood. The trauma Mr. Centeio inflicted through years of abuse cannot be undone by the jury’s verdict, but to see this individual held accountable is to see the courage of a young survivor,” District Attorney Rollins said. “I am in awe of this survivor, who has displayed such strength and resilience. Since first encountering the office I now lead, this office has been here to provide her and her loved ones with support and resources, and we will continue to be available to them going forward.”
Assistant District Attorney Ashley Polin and Assistant District Attorney Meghan Joyce presented evidence and testimony to prove that Centeio was known to the victim when he began sexually abusing her at a Dorchester residence when the victim was 8 years old. The assaults continued into the victim’s teen years.
In addition to sexually abusing the victim, Centeio showed the victim pornographic videos.
Before Judge Krupp imposed Centieo’s sentence, ADA Polin read the Court a victim impact statement written by the survivor of his abuse describing her journey toward healing.
“According to this courtroom, the jury and the law, I am a victim. The truth is, I’m not. I am a survivor,” the survivor, who is now an adult, wrote. “I live every day with a million scars but I am not wounded. I am strong, I am proud of who I’ve become. Everything that I have been through in my 21 years of life that was spoken of during this trial hasn’t broken me, it has only made me stronger.”
“I can say proudly that he will never take away my spirit to survive. I am breaking the cycle, I am inspiring others, I am courageous, I am a survivor,” she wrote.
Centeio is also charged with sexually assaulting a juvenile in Dorchester in 2008. A trial date for that case has not been set.
“When an adult – whether a relative, family friend or another trusted person – uses their position of trust or authority to abuse and manipulate a child, it can be more challenging for the survivor to come forward. It’s important that children know that, when they do make the decision to speak out, they will be listened to, believed and supported,” District Attorney Rollins said. “I’m grateful to the Boston Police detectives who investigated this case, the entire prosecution team – not only the talented prosecutors who secured Mr. Centeio’s conviction at trial but also the victim witness advocate, forensic interviewer, civilian investigators and exceptional support staff who helped us achieve this outcome while supporting this survivor and her loved ones. I would also like to thank the multidisciplinary team of service providers at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County for their work on behalf of every child in Suffolk County harmed through abuse and exploitation.”
While the victims and witnesses of any crime should call 911 in an emergency, there are additional resources available to report suspected crimes against children. Anyone who believes that a child in Massachusetts may be the victim of abuse can call the Department of Children and Families’ Child at Risk Hotline at 1-800-792-5200. Those concerned that a child is being exploited online may report a Cybertip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST or www.cybertipline.com.