Man accepts plea in sex assault case

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A 45-year-old South Routt County man pleaded guilty Thursday to abusing and trying to sexually assault a teenage girl.

Harold Dean Goedell faces as many as three years in prison when he is sentenced in Nov--ember.

Goedell had been accused of sexually assaulting the girl. However, in a plea agreement reached with the District Attorney's Office, Goedell plead--ed guilty to lesser charges of attempted sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, a Class 5 felony, and child abuse that resulted in a serious bodily injury, a Class 4 felony.

Goedell was arrested in Dec--ember 2004. The alleged incidents occurred between Sept. 1 and Dec. 30, 2003.

The girl and her mother reluctantly agreed to the deal.

"I am disappointed by it, but we are OK with it," the victim's mother said. "At least he's getting some jail time. He certainly deserves more."

According to court testimony in March, the girl said Goedell gave her two alcoholic drinks with a suspicious blue powder in them. Goedell told the girl the powder was Kool-Aid. The next morning, the girl reported feeling strange and said her clothes were disheveled.

Deputy District Attorney Tammy Jenson made the plea offer after questions arose about the validity of testing done on evidence gathered in the case. Routt County Sheriff Deputy Kurtis Luster testified in March that the results of the tests indicated a 99.9 percent probability that Goedell assaulted the girl.

The man had pleaded not guilty to the charges in July, and the case was set to go to trial Nov. 14.

"We feel comfortable with the resolution," Jenson said.

Goedell faces as many as three years in prison, three years on parole and fines of as much as $100,000. Goedell also must register as a sex offender.

After Goedell pleaded guilty to the charges, the victim's mother chose to address the court and told District Court Judge Michael O'Hara that Goedell deserved a much harsher punishment.

"There is no doubt in my mind he committed this crime against my daughter," she said. "If he is not properly supervised and taken seriously, he will seriously hurt somebody again."

Earlier in Thursday's proceedings, Goedell's attorney, public defender Trevor McFee, told the court that Goedell was not satisfied with his representation and that Goedell wanted another attorney to represent him.

O'Hara closed the courtroom to hear Goedell's request. After a brief discussion, it was determined that McFee would continue to represent Goedell.

Goedell's sentencing is at 1 p.m. Nov. 17.

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