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Rockland man receives four years for sexual assault on baby


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ROCKLAND ? A 37-year-old Rockland man was sentenced to four years in prison Monday in Knox County Superior Court for the sexual assault of a 17-month-old toddler with a screwdriver.



George A. GossageThe grandmother of the boy, Karen Ames of Thomaston, said she strongly opposed the plea agreement and asked the judge to consider a longer sentence.


George A. Gossage pleaded guilty to the crime of unlawful sexual contact, a class A felony. As part of the plea agreement, a second charge of aggravated assault was dismissed.


Justice Joyce A. Wheeler sentenced Gossage to 10 years with all but four years suspended. He also will be required to serve eight years probation and must register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.


As part of the probation, Gossage will be required to undergo a sex offender evaluation and treatment and take all required medications. He is to have no contact with the victim or the victim?s family and is not allowed contact with children under age 16. He will be allowed to see his own children under the supervision of the Department of Health and Human Services. Gossage was represented by Attorney Dale Lavi.


He also was sentenced to 90 days, to be served concurrently, for the charge of filing a false public report.


In March 2006, Gossage was initially charged with sexual abuse of a minor, but in May was indicted for unlawful sexual contact and aggravated assault.


Police learned of the assault after being contacted by the boy?s parents, who noticed injuries on their child when changing his diaper after the boy had been watched by Gossage. The boy suffered damage to his anus, which required surgery.



George A. Gossage was sentenced to four years in prison Monday. FILE PHOTOAmes, the toddler?s grandmother, said she and her daughter learned of the plea agreement hours before the deal was to be considered.


“That little boy is getting a life sentence and he?s (Gossage) getting three years or a year and a half with good behavior,� Ames stated, noting the one-year Gossage has already served.


Ames spoke before the court and asked the judge to consider if this was her child or her grandchild how she would react.


“He will live with the repercussions of this for the rest of his life,� Ames said.


The child does not have to remember the incident to be affected by it, she said, noting he will probably show signs of the abuse as he gets older.


Victim witness advocate Lynn Talbot spoke on behalf of the child?s mother, stating she was in favor of the agreement.


However, the mother wanted the court to know that since the incident, her son has had nightmares every night and is now afraid to take baths, Talbot said. He turned 2 years old in September.


The grandmother said she believed the case should go to trial because Gossage had basically admitted to the crime previously.


At the time of the investigation, Gossage told police that he suffered from blackouts, voices in his head and out-of-body experiences. While repeatedly denying he had hurt the child, he eventually said it was possible he had done it, according to an affidavit filed in the case.


Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald said he was satisfied with the plea agreement because a motion to suppress Gossage?s statements to police had been sought by the defense. If approved, he said, the state would have not been able to prove their case.


Due to Gossage?s mental state and limited I.Q., a police officer could have made a suggestion and Gossage would have agreed to it, Fernald said.


Following the sentence, the assistant district attorney said in other unlawful sexual contact cases, the defendant is usually sentenced to two to three years, so he is satisfied with the four-year sentence.


Ames, who was upset with the court proceedings, walked from the courtroom before the decision was fully read, pointed directly at Gossage and said, “You are bad.�


Ames later said she was disappointed the judge did not notice or mention Gossage?s lack of remorse for what he had done to the child. The man showed no remorse at all, she said.


Gossage was asked by the judge to repeat what the mother had told the court about the child?s nightmares and bath fears, which he did quietly.


“It will be a long time before he (the victim) is able to sort out the source of his nightmares and bath fears,� Wheeler told Gossage as she explained the purpose of the victim impact statements.


When District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau was running for re-election, Ames said, he stated his intent to fight for children.


“He ran a campaign to fight for the rights of children, this is not fighting for children?s rights,� she concluded.



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