A Waco resident was sentenced to 25 years in prison Monday for sexually abusing a friend’s daughter for three years beginning when she was 6.

Rickey Edward Levi, 36, who was set to stand trial Monday in Waco’s 54th State District Court, pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and five counts of indecency with a child by contact.

In a plea bargain with prosecutors approved by Judge Matt Johnson, the judge sentenced Levi to concurrent 25-year prison terms on each of the first four counts and 20-year terms on the remaining five.

Levi must serve at least 12½ years before he can seek parole. If the girl had been younger than 6, Levi would not have been eligible for parole.

According to reports filed in the case, Levi sexually abused the girl from 2004 through 2007. Levi, who court officials say has been in long-term transition to become a woman, was a friend of the girl’s mother, who was single and relied on the unemployed Levi to help care for her daughter.

The mother told authorities she felt safe allowing Levi to watch her daughter because she thought Levi was gay and because he was transitioning.

Levi, who wore black and white jail garb in court Monday, told court officials he intended to dress as a woman in court had he decided to go to trial.

Levi’s attorney, Sandy Gately, declined comment on the case.

Prosecutor Sydney Tuggle thanked the Waco Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit and the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children for their work on the case and others.

“I am thankful that our survivor is finally getting the justice she so long has deserved,” Tuggle said. “I hope by the defendant’s admissions of guilt there will be some closure for our survivor and that she can continue moving forward toward healing.”

Levi has three felony convictions, including two for possession of a controlled substance and one for aggravated assault against a public servant. He also has seven misdemeanor convictions, including two for theft, two for failure to identify, two for criminal trespass and one for possession of marijuana, according to court records.

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