Defense: Impregnating Teen May Be 'Bizarre,' But It's No Crime
March 8, 2002 at 10:19 PM EST - Updated July 12 at 8:06 AM
By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A woman accused of helping her husband impregnate her 16-year-old daughter believed that the girl agreed to inseminate herself with a syringe, a defense lawyer said.
The mother did not know the girl had been threatened with a gun by her stepfather, attorney Lawrence Whitney said Thursday.
"However bizarre we think it is, bizarre does not make a crime," he told a judge in closing arguments in the trial of Narda Goff.
Prosecutors countered that it didn't matter who inseminated the girl with her stepfather's sperm, because she was a minor.
Mrs. Goff, 43, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of child endangering and two counts of complicity to commit sexual battery.
According to paternity tests, her husband, John Goff, 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 in Mrs. Goff's trial, which lasted two days.
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 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 rested his case without calling any witnesses. He said he put on his defense during questioning of prosecution witnesses.
The Goffs, of nearby Stow, have said their daughter willingly allowed the inseminations to fulfill Mrs. Goff's wish to give her new husband a child. Mrs. Goff had had a hysterectomy.
The daughter, now 19, testified that her stepfather, an auxiliary police officer and former Marine, threatened to kill her mother if she did not agree to become pregnant. The girl testified she did not tell her mother about the threat.
Mrs. Goff did not know her husband performed the insemination, Whitney said. The daughter testified her mother was not present the two times she was inseminated.
"Mom did not know what occurred in that room," Whitney said.
Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi said Whitney ignored Mrs. Goff's statement to police that she witnessed one of the injections.
LoPrinzi 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.)