A man was recently sentenced to life without parole followed by 15 years in the Department of Corrections for lewd or lascivious molestation and lewd or lascivious battery.

DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — A man was recently sentenced to life without parole followed by 15 years in prison for lewd or lascivious molestation and lewd or lascivious battery.

According to a press release from the State Attorney's Office, Victor William Castro-Mendez was sentenced by Walton County Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells. Castro-Mendez was also ordered to pay fines, court costs and restitution, have no contact with the victim and to register as a sexual offender. A jury convicted him July 7.

In July 2018, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office began investigating Castro-Mendez following a disclosure by a 12-year-old girl that he had been abusing her for years, the release said. The child was interviewed at the Children’s Advocacy Center and told investigators that starting in the fifth grade, when she was 10 years old, the defendant would abuse her at the bus stop when they were alone.

The State Attorney's Office said that the child told investigators that the last time the suspect had abused her was 4 days before the interview, when she was 12.

The release said that the investigation and arrest was a joint effort between the State Attorney’s Office and the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant State Attorney Josh Mitchell prosecuted the case.