HOULTON, Maine — A Sherman man who sexually abused a relative for more than five years was sentenced Wednesday afternoon to serve a total of 12 years in prison on two counts of gross sexual assault.
Kirk Gould, 42, was indicted on the charges in July 2007. He was found guilty on both counts last month during a two-day jury trial in Aroostook County Superior Court in Houlton.
Gould’s trial was presided over by Superior Court Justice E. Allen Hunter, who also handed down the sentence Wednesday.
Hunter sentenced Gould to 25 years in prison with all but 12 years suspended on the first sex charge, which was a Class A felony. He also will be on probation for four years. On the second charge, a Class B felony, Gould received 10 years in prison, which will be served concurrently with the first sentence.
The Class A charge covered the abuse that took place while the victim was a child under 14 years old. The Class B charge reflected the abuse that took place after the victim turned 14.
As part of the sentencing, Gould also will be required to register as a lifetime sex offender and must comply with numerous other terms of probation, including having no contact with the victim or any child under 18 years old and undergoing sex offender treatment and counseling.
Gould could have been sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison on the two charges.
Aroostook County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Gordon said Wednesday that the abuse began when the girl was 11 years old and continued until she was nearly 17. The victim and other family members lived with Gould. Gordon said the perpetrator started abusing the girl approximately two months after she and her family moved in with him.
He added that Gould also began “planning” to be a better abuser after he began assaulting the girl.
Gordon said that Gould, who is disabled with numerous health problems, sought and was given testosterone from his doctor so that he would have more energy. He also obtained Cialis, a pill used to treat erectile dysfunction, so he could “maintain an erection longer,” according to Gordon.
Gordon also told Hunter that every person living in the home with Gould had a bed frame on their beds, except for the victim. The attorney said Gould kept her bed on the floor so that no one in the small trailer would hear him abusing her at night.
Gould also controlled the victim, he added, by not letting her have friends over and refusing to allow her to get her driver’s license. The abuse continued “two or three times a week,” Gordon said, until the 16-year-old reported it.
Gould did not testify at the trial, but Gordon said he confessed to the crimes when confronted by Maine State Police detectives.
“In his confession, he blamed the victim and showed no remorse,” the attorney told the judge.
State Police Detective Josh Haines, who headed up the investigation, was in court for the sentencing.
Gordon argued for 25 years in prison plus probation, numerous probation conditions and a fine. He wanted Gould to pay for counseling for the victim.
“I think there is a huge public interest to lock him up as long as we can,” Gordon told Hunter.
Gould’s attorney, Torrey Sylvester, argued for a lighter sentence than Hunter imposed, including suggesting a period of house arrest.
He noted that Gould was the only caregiver for his 80-year-old mother, whom he lives with.
Two family friends attested that Gould cared for his mother, did all of her errands and chores and managed her medications. Gould has siblings, but they live out of state.
Sylvester said Gould’s probation officer would continue to supervise him and told Hunter that his client had no felony convictions and was not a flight risk. Gould has several misdemeanor convictions for theft and other charges. Sylvester also said that Gould’s victim had moved out of the area, possibly out of state, and Gould would not contact her.
“He is no threat to anyone at this stage of his life,” said Sylvester.
The defense attorney also told Hunter that Gould has no money, no savings and no capacity to pay for counseling for the victim.
Dressed in a blue suit and tie, Gould spoke only briefly to the judge, saying he was sorry and asking to stay out of prison to help his mother.
The victim was not present in court, but testified at the trial in July.
Gordon described her as a “very brave young lady” who had “the best years of her life stolen from her” by Gould.
Hunter deliberated for a half-hour before sentencing, saying that the court took note of the needs of Gould’s mother and the other arguments made by Sylvester.
He noted that the victim’s abuse came at the hands of someone she trusted and that she would continue to deal with it for the rest of her life.
“This involved the sustained sexual exploitation of a child by Gould that he takes no responsibility for,” concluded Hunter.
Gould stood expressionless as he was sentenced.
One family friend shook her head in disagreement.
Gould had been out on bail since his arrest. After his conviction, he remained free on bail until sentencing.
Sylvester asked the judge to allow Gould to remain free on bail pending an appeal of the conviction so that he could care for his mother.
Gordon opposed the idea. “He [Gould] knows this case has been going on since 2007,” he told Hunter. “He has had ample time to arrange for his mother’s care.”
Hunter ultimately demanded that Gould be taken into custody and set post-conviction bail at $200,000 surety or $50,000 cash with lengthy conditions.
Gordon said after the trial that he did not believe Gould would be able to make bail.
He remained in Aroostook County Jail on Wednesday afternoon.
Sylvester said his client already has made arrangements to file an appeal. He did not specify the grounds on which the appeal would be filed.