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September 11, 2013

Child abuse suspect enters blind plea

CLAREMORE — The Rogers County District Court accepted a blind guilty plea Monday from Carl Gene Gosvener for the crime of sexual abuse of a child.

Assistant District Attorney Reagan Reininger accepted the plea before Judge Dwayne Steidley, resulting in a conviction for the DA’s office.

Reininger said the case involved a child victim who was 13 at the time of the crime.

“The evidence a jury expects is not always there. A lot of times in these type of cases it is more difficult to get a conviction in front of a jury,” Reininger said. “A solid case must be presented and a lot of credit needs to be given to the investigative agency, in this case the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office.”

The forensic interview is also a key element in building these cases, according to Reininger. Gosvener pled guilty to inappropriately touching the child victim’s private parts, according to Reininger.

Gosvener, who has a prior conviction for uttering a forged instrument, otherwise known as writing a bogus check, in Rogers County, could receive a 10 year sentence to life, according to Reininger. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for early November, she said.

Before that hearing, a pre-sentence investigation will be conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, according to Reininger. The investigation will include examining Gosvener’s prior criminal history, employment and statements from the victim and defendant, as well as any mental health or other documented issues, Reininger said.

“The defendant’s entire background history… whatever would be relevant to the case [will be included],” Reininger said.

The results of the investigation will be provided to the court to assist with sentencing, she added.

“They compile a report and make a recommendation to the court on the sentence,” Reininger said. “They can recommend probation or in-custody time.”

The court is not bound by the recommendation. It is a tool to assist with the process, she added.

“There was no offer on the table,” Reininger said.

The blind plea does prevent the pending jury trial from moving forward, potentially saving taxpayer funds.

Depending on the court’s sentence Gosvener’s crime requires a minimum of 10 years and the court cannot defer it, according to Reininger.

“It [a blind plea] is not very common in Rogers County, but I look at it as a positive thing. I was able to get a conviction without putting a minor on the stand to testify,” Reininger said. “I look at is as a positive because I do not have to re-traumatize a victim.”

The charge is an 85 percent crime, meaning Gosvener will be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence, according to Reininger.

Gosvener will likely have to register as a sex offender for life, depending on the court’s ruling, she said.

“We cannot control the sentencing, but we do not have to put a young victim on the stand,” Reininger said.

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