Attorney: Defendant victim of childhood abuse himself; self-medicated to cope
By Brandi Makusi
A Plover man has been sentenced to four years in state prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in 2016.
Forrest Goetz, 31, appeared with his attorney, Gary Kryshak, for sentencing before Judge Thomas Eagon on Feb. 8. Goetz was arrested last March after he entered the young girl’s room just before dawn and molested her. He pleaded no contest to third-degree child sex assault last December.
Kryshak asked Eagon to consider his client’s violent childhood as a mitigating factor, as Goetz himself was a victim of sexual abuse, and was so troubled he had previously attempted suicide.
“It’s been a long time since I saw a childhood that was, literally, that horrendous, whether it was the sexual abuse, the beatings…it was just horrendous,” Kryshak said. “My client’s had no counseling. Some of that’s his fault, some of it’s not. But he self-medicates with alcohol. He’s an absolute alcoholic and he abused marijuana. When he’s sober, he’s a nice guy…[but] I’m not going to argue against prison time; that would be ridiculous.”
Assistant District Attorney Davis Knaapen said the “gravity of the offense,” along with Goetz’ “abysmal criminal record” called for lengthy prison time, and asked Eagon to impose the maximum sentence allowed by law, along with a lifetime sex offender registration.
“He has a fairly involved criminal history, and as was noted in the pre-sentence [report], he has been on supervision 13 times, and all of those have been revoked except for two cases,” Knaapen said. “The defendant indicated he was so intoxicated he didn’t remember anything until he gained some level of sobriety while he was in the jail after having been arrested for this offense.”
Knaapen also said Goetz had repeatedly failed to participate in counseling or community treatment in his previous cases.
“The defendant’s level of criminal offenses seems to be escalating, in that his offenses are becoming more violent. Clearly this is a very violent offense to a young girl,” Knaapen said. “The community needs to be protected.”
According to Knaapen, the victim’s family–who did not appear to make a victim impact statement prior to sentencing–has said the girl has shown signs of depression and suicidal thoughts since the attack, but has declined counseling. The girl’s parents previously tried to act as mentors to Goetz, but following the assault said they felt “violated” by Goetz’ actions.
“The family is just torn apart by his actions; there’s just no other way to put it,” Knaapen said.
Goetz also spoke prior to sentencing, reading in a barely-audible voice from a prepared letter of apology.
“I can’t begin to imagine the pain and suffering everybody is going through,” Goetz said. “I’ll never forgive myself, or expect you to. I’m disgusted with my poor choices.”
Eagon said he took into consideration Goetz’ background, which also included alcohol and hard drug use before the age of 14 and “horrific treatment by his caregivers” as a child.
But Eagon denied Knaapen’s request for lifetime supervision, saying it wasn’t appropriate because Goetz had no previous record of sex assault.
“The lifetime supervision needs to be used with discretion so the most serious offenders receive the most supervising,” Eagon said. “At this point, the defendant does not fall into that category. If he had another sexually-motivated offense, the court would be more likely to impose the lifetime supervision.”
Goetz was sentenced to four years in prison followed by five years of extended supervision, with credit for the 338 days he’s already served.
Upon his release, Goetz must avoid contact with minor females, comply with counseling requirements and remain drug and alcohol free. He also must either attend school or be employed on a full-time basis and pay up to $10,000 in court costs.