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Pa. man sentenced to 6 years for sexual child abuse


A 47-year-old marketing executive convicted of sexually abusing his stepdaughter in Annapolis for several years beginning 18 years ago has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Eugene Goldsmith of Chadds Ford, Pa., was sentenced Friday in Circuit Court during a hearing in which he read part of the suicide note he left his family last month after his conviction.

Goldsmith took an overdose of the tranquilizer Valium on Dec. 17, closed the door to his garage and turned on his car engine.

He spent three days in critical condition at a Chester County, Pa., hospital after being rescued by his wife, who arrived home earlier than expected, said Stephen M. Schenning, his defense attorney.

In his note, Goldsmith maintained his innocence and said he was the victim of a "witch hunt."

Mr. Schenning said yesterday Goldsmith no longer talks about suicide, but remains "devastated" by the conviction. He said he will appeal the verdict, arguing that the state statute that protects patient-doctor relations and barred him from cross-examining the victim's psychiatrist prevented a fair trial.

Goldsmith was convicted by a jury Sept. 18 of sexual child abuse and third- and fourth-degree sex offenses in attacks that began 18 years ago and went on for six years.

In a two-day trial, Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia Ferris portrayed the victim as someone who was drawn into sex acts from age 7 to 13 and left home at 17.

The 25-year-old victim, now a law student living in Annapolis, said that when she was 7, her stepfather came into the bathroom while she was taking a bath and instructed her to fondle him.

JTC Soon after that, it became a part of her stepfather's routine to fondle her when he came into her bedroom to tuck her in every night, according to testimony.

The victim's mother, whom Goldsmith married when the victim was 6, was not around during the alleged incidents, according to testimony.

Goldsmith testified that he loved the victim and always considered her his daughter until she refused to see his dying father. That prompted him to write her out of his will and cancel insurance policies that named her as a beneficiary.

Mr. Schenning emphasized that the case was a matter of the victim's word against Goldsmith's. "My client has from day one said the charges were untrue, and he testified to that," Mr. Schenning said.

At sentencing, he asked that his client, who owns a marketing firm, be kept out of prison so that he can continue to work and see his therapist. "I feel very strongly that this guy is not a threat to society," he said.

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