A Harmony man will serve at least 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a young girl.
Christopher West, 29, was sentenced in Iredell County Superior Court after pleading guilty to one count of rape of a child and first-degree sexual offense.
He also pleaded guilty to two counts of breaking and entering and one county of larceny.
West received a sentence of 16 to 20 years on the rape and sex offense charge and one of the breaking and entering cases, according to court records.
On the remaining charges, he received a sentence of 10 to 12 months.
West was arrested a year ago following an investigation by the Iredell County Sheriff's Office Special Victim's Unit.
Detective Sgt. Bill Hamby said the girl, who is now 7, is related to West.
Last year, the girl told a neighbor that West had been sexually assaulting her since she was 4 years old.
The neighbor reported the girl's allegations, and an investigation was begun by the SVU, Hamby said.
The girl was interviewed, as was West, who denied the allegations, Hamby said.
The next day, when authorities arrived to arrest West, he confessed to the crimes, Hamby said.