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Adam Croote, ex-poster child for missing children, sentenced for raping 10-year-old girl

In this Jan. 19, 1996 file photo provided by the White House, President Bill Clinton signs a proclamation in the Oval Office, an executive order to set aside space in every federal building for posting pictures of missing children. Watching are from left, Don and Claudine Ryce, Marc Klaas, Colleen Nick, Adam Croote, Linda Koerner, and Representative Peter Deutsche, (D-Fla.). AP Photo/White House

(CBS/AP) ALBANY, N.Y. - Adam Croote, a man who was once invited to the White House as a symbol for the plight of missing children, has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for raping and choking a 10-year-old girl.

Croote was sentenced to in Albany County Court on Friday, reports CBS affiliate WRGB. Croote, 23, pleaded guilty in March to attacking a child he was babysitting.

The girl's family knew Croote was a registered sex offender before the assault last June at a home in Berne, The Times Union reported, citing court documents. But the relatives nonetheless asked Croote to watch the child after school one afternoon, authorities said.

She managed to escape as he tried to strangle her, authorities said.

When he was two-years-old, Croote's father, an army soldier, shot and killed Adam's pregnant mother and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Two years later, his maternal grandparents abducted him during a custody fight. His face was on missing-child fliers for three years until they were captured, living under assumed names.

In 1996, Croote and his paternal grandmother went to the White House to see President Bill Clinton sign a policy to put missing-children posters in federal buildings. A photo shows the small boy standing near Clinton's side as the president writes.

As a teen, he was convicted of sexually assaulting an instructor at a home for troubled young people in Wendell, Mass.

He returned to the Albany area five years ago and was arrested about two years later when he failed to register as a convicted sex offender, authorities said. He later registered.

"Since he was a sex offender, we knew who he was, what he was, where he was," Albany County Under Sheriff Craig Apple said after Croote was arrested in the attack on the 10-year-old girl. "We just prayed that he didn't re-offend. There is only so much we can do."

More on Crimesider:
June 27, 2011 - NY rape suspect Adam Croote was high-profile missing boy in 1990s