Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ex teacher's aide sentenced to five years for "relationship" with 16 year old

Former Burlington County Special Services teacher's aide Donna Goebel was sentenced to 5 years in prison and lifetime parole  for starting a relationship with a 16 year old student. This sentence was handed down on Monday by Superior Court Judge James Morley and split the difference between the 7 years requested by Burlington County prosecutors and 3 years requested by the defense.

On July 17, Goebel was convicted of a count of sexual assault involving the student who attended class where she was a teacher's aide last year. This "relationship" started while she was still married, but in an unhapy relationship with her husband.

 "It's possible she just wanted to be around someone who was nice to her and got caught up in something she shouldn't have," Judge Morley said, adding she used her position to get close to him whether she originally intended to or not.

Judge Morley also opined "But for the defendant's status, there would be no crime here (because) the relationship was entirely consensual." Pennsylvania's AOC is usually 16, but rises to 18 when the adult is in a position of trust.

In a letter to the judge, Goebel's older daughter, Jennifer, said her mother was in a "poisonous destructive relationship" with her father that made her mother do uncharacteristic things. "She is a loving mother and constantly made sacrifices for me . . . She is not the woman portrayed in the newspapers," the college student wrote.

Goebel is currently divorced and is in the process of remarrying.

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