No Witnesses Called For Mother Charged In Impregnation Case

By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - The defense attorney for a mother accused of helping her husband artificially inseminate his stepdaughter with a syringe rested his case on Thursday without calling a witness.

Defense attorney Lawrence Whitney said he put on his defense during questioning of prosecution witnesses in the trial of Narda Goff, 43, of Stow.

"The evidence in my mind cannot get any better than it is now," he said outside of court on Thursday before closing statements.

Mrs. Goff, 43, is accused of helping her husband, John, get the girl pregnant at age 16. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Her trial began Wednesday.

John Goff is accused of breaking the laws that he and his wife campaigned in the 1990s to toughen. They began the effort after a man accused of molesting Mrs. Goff's daughter was acquitted because of a loophole.

The couple's campaign persuaded lawmakers to change the law in 1996 to include penetration with any object as a component to rape. Previously, only sexual intercourse was considered rape.

Whitney said Mrs. Goff believed that her daughter consented without being threatened and that she inseminated herself.

The young woman testified Wednesday that said she agreed to the arrangement only after her stepfather -- with a gun in his hand -- threatened to kill her mother. She said she never told her mother about the threat.

Police detectives testified that Mrs. Goff told them she witnessed one of the injections.

But Mrs. Goff's daughter testified that her mother was not present the two times Goff inseminated her. She said her mother helped prepare the syringe in another room the first time, but did not know about the second occurrence.

The daughter, now 19, said her mother helped the artificial insemination by charting her menstrual cycle to determine when she was most fertile. However, she said her mother understood that the plan was for her to inseminate herself.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge John R. Adams is hearing the case of Mrs. Goff, charged with conspiracy to commit sexual battery and child endangering. He is not expected to rule on the case Thursday.

Earlier this week, prosecutors dropped charges of complicity to sexual battery and rape.

Whitney said it is a legal argument as to whether agreeing to a plan that turns into a crime constitutes a conspiracy.

He said of the child endangering charge that Adams must determine whether the pregnancy was a violation of Mrs. Goff's duty as a mother to care her child.

John Goff's trial on rape and sexual battery charges is scheduled for March 18. According to paternity tests, he is the father of his stepdaughter's baby. The boy, born in September 1999, is currently in foster care.

The couple have said their daughter willingly allowed the injections to fulfill Mrs. Goff's wish to give her new husband a child. Mrs. Goff, who has multiple sclerosis, felt she was too old and sick to bear a child.

The daughter testified that on Christmas Eve 1998, her mother made her take a home pregnancy test.

"That was my mom's present for John -- that I was pregnant," she said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)