A Longview man convicted of raping two children and molesting two other children over a 23-year period will serve 17 years and six months in prison.
In tears, Randy Goforth, who pleaded guilty in January, told Cowlitz Supeior Court Judge Stephen Warning Wednesday that he “always wanted the best” for the victims.
“These girls have no worry from me retaliating or doing anything to them,” Goforth said. “I’m not upset with them. I don’t want them to be in fear when I get out. … I love them with all my heart and always have.”
Goforth, 51, pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree child molestation and two counts of third-degree rape of a child. He took an Alford plea, maintaining his innocence but acknowledging the prosecution had enough evidence to convict him.
In exchange for the plea, the Cowlitz Prosecutor’s Office dropped further charges that would have made it certain that Goforth would spend the rest of his life in prison.
In late May, 11- and 15-year old girls told Longview police that Goforth had been touching them inappropriately. The 15-year-old told investigators that she woke up one night to Goforth removing her pants and underwear, after which he sexually assaulted her, according to court records.
Goforth admitted at the time to sleeping with them “either on a couch or on the floor,” but denied having sexual contact.
Two more women came forward in early June. A 21-year old woman told police Goforth sexually abused her while she was between the ages of 9 and 17 and repeatedly threatened to shoot and kill her mother.
The second woman, now 29 years old, said Goforth had sexually assaulted her while she was between the ages of 6 and 14.
Goforth told a corrections officer that he believes the charges stem from a custody dispute, according to a Department of Corrections (DOC) investigation.
His attorney, Daniel Morgan, said that despite “numerous inconsistencies” in the victim’s allegations, Goforth opted to take the plea deal.
“My client understands that if he gets in any more trouble in the future, he will die in prison,” Morgan said.
Judge Warning accepted the defense and prosecution’s proposed sentencing, which also included three years of community custody and a lifetime no-contact order with each victim. Goforth would be 68 or 69 when his prison sentence ends, if he serves the full term.
He was a carpenter at the time of his arrest last spring.
Prosecuting attorney Jason Laurine said he met with the victims and their family to discuss the plea deal. While the sentence wasn’t ideal, he said, it was satisfactory to all parties. The victims, in particular, wanted to avoid testifying and being cross-examined in front of Goforth in a trial.
“These young women and young girls suffered greatly at his hands,” Laurine said Wednesday. “...There was a fear of standing in front of the defense and testifying.”
Goforth expressed concern in the DOC investigation that he would be condemned for being a sex offender, especially in prison, and “wished people would get the story” before they judge him.
That investigation also found Goforth claims to be a victim of physical and sexual abuse himself. He said that between the ages of 4 and 6, he was beat by his foster father with a belt and locked in a cellar, where another foster son would sexually assault him.