Victim of sex offending tells of suicide attempts

 

An under-age girl has repeatedly tried to commit suicide after becoming the victim of 43-year-old Michael Francis Goodwin’s sex offending.

“I have felt very suicidal and alone,” the girl said in her victim impact statement which was read at Goodwin’s Christchurch District Court sentencing.

She said: “I used to cut my arms and legs with sharp objects. I thought that he was going to come after me. I have tried to kill myself five times, but failed every time.

“I have panic attacks that scare me, out of the blue.”

The girl’s mother said the teenager had gone from being a fun-loving, confident and trusting young girl to a confused, angry, untrusting, and very emotional young girl. “She has taken her anger, pain, and frustration out on us,” said the mother.

Goodwin was jailed by Judge Tom Gilbert for 26 months after admitting charges of indecent assault on a young person, indecent communication with a young person, possession of an objectionable publication, and making an objectionable publication.

The police had told of Goodwin touching the girl in her bed, and later contacting her online, before sending her 18 sex videos on the Google Hangouts website. He had also encouraged the girl to send him a video of her touching herself.

A check of his mobile phone showed that he had been searching for and viewing objectionable material including themes of bestiality, incest, teenagers, and masturbation.

Judge Gilbert said that without having targeted treatment, Goodwin was seen as being a high risk offender. He noted Goodwin had been having counselling to deal with his addiction to pornography. He hoped that he would be able to attend one of the very good sex offenders’ programmes while serving his jail term.

Even if the sentence had fallen within the range for home detention, the judge said he would not have granted it. “Home detention would have been a woefully inadequate response to this offending and the harm you have caused to a teenage girl,” said Judge Gilbert.

Crown prosecutor Chris Bernhardt had argued that a considerable amount of harm had been caused, and home detention was not appropriate.

Defence counsel Andrew Riches said Goodwin was a first offender, who realised the pain and anguish he had caused and was deeply ashamed. His partner was in court supporting him at the sentencing. He urged that home detention be imposed.

 

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