Trial of sex offender accused of taking naked pictures of underage boy begins

Posted July 24, 2012, at 8:06 a.m.
Last modified July 24, 2012, at 6:45 p.m.
Carey Gonyer
Maine Sex Offender Registry
Carey Gonyer

BANGOR, Maine — The jury trial of a registered sex offender on child pornography charges began Tuesday in U.S. District Court with the testimony of a LaGrange teenager who said he was sexually assaulted for months before photographing his genitals at the defendant’s request.

Carey E. Gonyer, 43, of Charleston has pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in the production of pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

In addition to the federal charges, Gonyer was indicted in December by the Penobscot County grand jury on 10 counts of sexual abuse of a minor in related incidents. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges, which are pending.

The federal trial is scheduled to end Friday.

The state and federal charges involve a male victim who was 15 years old when the crimes allegedly took place, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

The boy, who is now 17, told jurors that he began working at the Valley View Farm in Charleston in late May or early June 2010 on weekends. When school was out, he worked almost daily throughout the summer as a farmhand.

Under direct examination, he said the first sexual assault occurred in the early summer when he spent the night at the small apartment Gonyer had on the farm when the boy’s mother and stepfather were away for a weekend. The sexual assaults continued the next summer when he returned to work on the farm, the teenager testified.

The federal indictment alleged that the incidents that led to the sexual exploitation counts occurred in June, July and September 2011. The production charges involve two photos the boy said he took with his cellphone and sent to Gonyer’s cellphone and one taken with Gonyer’s phone, all at the defendant’s request.

The teen testified that Gonyer told him to delete text and photo messages after sending them, which he did. He said Gonyer threatened to tell the boy’s mother he had been smoking cigarettes if he told anyone they were having sex. Once, the boy testified, Gonyer threatened to kill his mother if the teen reported the two were having sex.

The boy identified two pairs of Nike sneakers, two T-shirts, a wall clock bearing the Bacardi label and a stereo that he said Gonyer bought for him or gave him. He said they were not received as payment for working on the farm.

The teen also said Gonyer bought him a BB gun on a shopping trip to Bangor. When the federal prosecutor asked if the defendant had said anything when Gonyer gave him the gun, the boy answered, “He said, ‘I’ll take it out of your ass.’”

The boy testified that he told his guidance counselor at Penquis Valley High School in Milo about the abuse and the photos. She called his mother and police, he said.

Under cross-examination, the teenager denied making up the story about the abuse when he thought the pictures he had taken of his genitals on his cellphone were about to be discovered.

“I didn’t make up nothing, sir,” he told defense attorney Hunter Tzovarras of Bangor.

Detectives who investigated the case testified Tuesday afternoon.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey Neumann told the jury of nine women and five men, including two alternates, in her opening statement that the case was about a man in his early 40s who took advantage of a 15-year-old boy who looked up to him. Neumann said Gonyer sexually assaulted the boy repeatedly.

“[The victim] told police that the sexual assaults happened too many times to count,” she said.

Neumann said the evidence recovered from Gonyer’s residence would show that he had photos of the boy’s genitals on two cellphone memory cards and child pornography on his computer.

Tzovarras told the jury in his opening statement that the boy told his guidance counselor that Gonyer had abused him and told him to take and send the photos after the boy’s mother caught him smoking and took his cellphone away from him. The defense attorney said there were no text messages on the phones between Gonyer and the boy. Tzovarras also said no DNA evidence was found on Gonyer’s sofa where the teen said the sexual assaults occurred.

Gonyer has been held since his arrest in October 2011 at the Penobscot County Jail unable to post $20,000 cash bail.

He was sentenced in U.S. District Court in December 2006 to 2½ years in federal prison for possession of child pornography. He was released in July 2008. As a result of that conviction, he was required to register as a sex offender.

If convicted, Gonyer faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison on the sexual exploitation charges and up to 10 years in prison on the possession of pornography charge. He also faces fines of up to $250,000 on each count.

The maximum penalty he could face in state court on the sexual abuse charge is 10 years in prison.

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