Prosecutors: Girl Was Too Young To Consent To Be Inseminated

By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A woman believed her 16-year-old daughter agreed to artificially inseminate herself with a syringe and did not know the girl had been threatened with a gun by her stepfather, a defense attorney said Thursday.

Prosecutors countered that it didn't matter who inseminated the girl with her stepfather's sperm, because she was a minor.

A judge heard closing arguments Thursday in the two-day trial of Narda Goff, 43, who is accused of helping her husband, John, get her daughter pregnant. According to paternity tests, he is the father of his stepdaughter's baby. The boy, born in September 1999, is currently in foster care.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge John R. Adams said he will rule Monday.

Mrs. Goff faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of complicity to commit sexual battery and child endangering.

John Goff, who goes on trial March 18 on rape and sexual battery charges, 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.

Defense attorney Lawrence Whitney rested his case without calling any witnesses. He said he put on his defense during questioning of prosecution witnesses.

The couple, of nearby Stow, 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.

Whitney told the judge that Mrs. Goff believed her daughter agreed to inseminate herself, which he said is not sexual battery.

The daughter, now 19, testified that her stepfather threatened her if she did not agree to become pregnant and she did not tell her mother.

"However bizarre we think it is, bizarre does not make a crime," Whitney said.

Mrs. Goff did not know her husband performed the insemination, he said. The daughter testified her mother was not present the two times she was injected.

"Mom did not know what occurred in that room," he said.

Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Brian LoPrienzi said Whitney ignored Mrs. Goff's statements to police that she witnessed one of the two inseminations.

LoPrienzi said Mrs. Goff helped her husband by charting her daughter's menstrual cycle to determine when the girl would be most fertile. He said the daughter was pressured by her mother to become pregnant and that she was not old enough to consent to bear "the child of John Goff."

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.)