COLLIN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Deeming him a child predator, a Collin County jury has sentenced a 35-year-old man from Royce City to life in prison.

Ivan Merida was given the sentence, that has no possibility for parole, after being convicted of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child.

Officials say Merida had continuous access to the girl who he sexually abused for more than a year.

Merida had always told the girl not to tell anyone what he’d done, but after the victim turned 11 years old trauma from the abuse lead her to begin harming herself. She finally revealed what was happening to her when her destructive behavior was noticed.

“Collin County children are forever safe from this predator because this brave child found the courage to tell a family member,” Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis said in a press release.

After talking with the relative the little girl was interviewed at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County where she detailed the abuse to investigators.