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Last updated on Friday, April 11, 2014
(SALEM) - A jury has convicted Albert “Mike” Goering of all six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor. He will be sentenced on May 2.
After deliberating for about 4 hours the jury reached their verdict. The jury, made up a majority of men, returned guilty verdicts on all six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.
The alleged acts occurred in February 2013 on Goering's farm on Garrison Hollow Road.
Sonia Leerkamp, a special prosecutor from Hamilton County, is arguing the state's case. Special Judge John Evans, from Harrison Circuit Court, is hearing the case. Goering is being defended by North Vernon Attorney Mark Dove, who says Goering didn't know the girl was under the age of 16.
According to the testimony of Leane Whitaker, Goering's ex-wife, the two families first became acquainted in 1988 when the young lady's mother was hired to help Whitaker with housework. Several years after that, the minor and members of her family helped with the Maple Syrup Festival at the farm.
The victim also testified how the relationship between Goering and her evolved from a friendship into something more intimate. Goering served as Washington County commissioner from 2001-09, and running on the Republican ticket. He also previously served as county engineer and was the county's solid waste director at the time of his arrest last March. He was suspended from that position, without pay, pending the outcome of the legal process.
The Goering family is among the largest producers of maple syrup in the state and host a maple syrup festival, which attracts thousands to their farm, but this year the festival was cancelled.
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