Federal jury convicts Charleston man on child pornography charges

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted July 25, 2012, at 5:02 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A federal jury convicted a registered sex offender late Wednesday afternoon on four child pornography charges.

Carey E. Gonyer, 43, of Charleston was found guilty of three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in the production of pornography and one count of possession of child pornography after 1½ days of testimony in U.S. District Court.

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for two hours and 40 minutes before sending a note to U.S. District Judge John Woodcock, who presided over the trial.

The now 17-year-old victim who testified Tuesday was not in court when the verdict was announced, but his mother was. She declined to be interviewed by reporters.

Gonyer, who faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in federal prison due to his prior conviction for possession of child porngraphy, did not react as the verdict was read.

A sentencing date has not been set.

Defense attorney Hunter Tzovarras of Bangor said after the verdict that his client was disappointed by the jury’s decision.

“We’ll talk about an appeal and see if that is the next step,” he said.

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.

Tzovarras, who also represents Gonyer in state court, said Wednesday that his client had not decided whether he would seek a trial on those charges on not. The maximum sentence Gonyer faces in state court is five years, according to Tzovarras.

The state and federal charges involve a male victim who was 15 years old when Gonyer began sexually assaulting him, according to testimony in federal court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey Neumann said after the jury was dismissed that the boy’s testimony was “pivotal in obtaining the convictions in this case.”

The trial began Tuesday with the testimony of the LaGrange teenager, who said he was sexually assaulted for months before photographing his genitals at the defendant’s request. The boy 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 involved 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.’”

In her closing argument, Neumann said there was enough evidence to convict Gonyer. The federal prosecutor told jurors that the memory cards recovered from Gonyer’s residence proved that he had photos of the boy’s genitals on two cellphone memory cards and child pornography on his computer because he wanted to keep them. She also said the fact that the photos had been cropped proved they were important to the defendant.

Tzovarras told jurors that the government had not produced enough evidence to prove its case. He said there were no forensic tests run on the victim’s or Gonyer’s cellphone to see if deleted messages could be retrieved and that the memory cards had not been tested for fingerprints. Tzovarras said there was enough reasonable doubt in the case to find Gonyer not guilty.

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.

In addition to the mandatory minimum of 25 years in federal prison Gonyer faces on the sexual exploitation charges, he faces up to 10 years in prison on the possession of pornography charge. He also faces fines of up to $250,000 on each count.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/07/25/news/bangor/jury-begins-deliberating-in-charleston-mans-child-pornography-trial/ printed on September 23, 2014