Thursday, November 17, 2005
The 45-year-old Phippsburg man accused of sexually assaulting and impregnating a teenage girl was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday in Routt County District Court.
Harold Dean Goedell accepted an offer in which he pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child, a Class 5 felony, and child abuse that resulted in serious bodily injury, a Class 4 felony.
The District Attorney's Office offered the plea in September. Under the plea deal, Goedell will serve three years in prison, and he will get credit for the 330 days he already has served. Goedell also was ordered to pay the costs of his trial.
Goedell was arrested in Dec--ember 2004 after DNA samples from a social services investigation led authorities to think he was the father of the teenage girl's son. The sexual assaults were alleged to have occurred between Sept. 1 and Dec. 30, 2003.
The teenager testified that Goedell gave her two alcoholic beverages with a blue powder in them and told her the blue powder was Kool-Aid. She said she woke up the next morning feeling strange and wearing disheveled clothes.
Deputy District Attorney Tammy Jenson said the DNA samples were sent to a paternity lab and not to a forensics lab, that they were handled by about 20 people and that the results of the test may have been tampered with.
In the year Goedell has been in jail, he repeatedly has proclaimed his innocence. On Thursday, he said mistakes made in court documents may affect him for the rest of his life.
"I do think it's important to understand that if things are misrepresented that I will be punished for things I didn't do," he said.
"You know, I am taking responsibility for my actions; I just wish everyone involved in this case would. No one had ever wanted to know the entire truth as to what really happened."
Jenson said Goedell's comments were self-centered and that he was not remorseful.
"This victim's life is a train wreck today. This victim deserved to have (the defendant) face a life sentence for this crime. Instead, she received a life sentence," she said.
"We decided it was better to get a little justice in this case than no justice at all."
The victim, who has moved from Routt County, addressed the court via telephone during the sentencing.
"I just wanted to say that I am disappointed he doesn't feel bad for the things he has done or for the people he has hurt. I wish there was some way to change this," she said.
Goedell's attorney, public defender Trevor McFee, said Goedell also was a victim because he lost personal belongings as a result of his imprisonment.
"Perhaps (Goedell) has not shown any remorse or regret because he asserts he is not guilty, McFee said.
"He has been forced to choose between bad and much worse. When you're facing a possible sentence of life in prison, you consider pleading to a charge that doesn't carry that sentence, whatever it is, whether you're guilty or not."
District Judge Michael O'Hara told Goedell he thought the case deserved more than three years.
"It's clear, Mr. Goedell, that you have denied your guilt in the face of overwhelming evidence that you fathered a child by this victim," the judge said.
"The truth is, you deserve to go to prison for life, in my opinion. You represent a threat to the community and to the victim.
"There is not explanation -- not a possible explanation -- that would justify what happened in this case."