KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- The state has filed a human trafficking charge, as well as a charge of promoting a sexual recording, against a Bennington man already accused of engaging in sexual acts with a 14-year-old early last year.
Peter A. Goewey, 59, of Autumn Acres Road, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division to aggravated human trafficking of a child under 18 years of age, and promoting a sexual recording. He reentered not guilty pleas to repeated aggravated sexual assault of a child, possession of child pornography, and sexual assault - no consent. He was arraigned on the initial charges on April 27, 2012 and has been held without bail since.
Should Goewey be convicted, the human trafficking charge carries a minimum penalty of 20 years in prison, while the aggravated repeated sexual assault carries a base of 25 years.
According to a police affidavit, a 14-year-old boy reported in April of last year that Goewey had touched him, performed oral sex on him, and had him take nude photographs of himself and send them to Goewey’s cell phone. He said some of these incidents happened in 2011. According to the boy, he met Goewey while playing pool at Bennington Lanes, a bowling alley, and while nothing happened the first few times they met, eventually Goewey touched him, and asked him to go to his vehicle to retrieve a pool stick.
According to a more recent affidavit in which a Bennington police detective writes about digital information recovered from a computer and cell from seized from Goewey’s home, the boy told police that Goewey offered him money for the photos, but the boy refused. He said Goewey gave him $40 all the same then another $50 not to tell anyone. Police said the images found were of male genitals and they were able to match the type of underwear depicted with a pair the boy owns, as well as link the type of tile on the floor to that of the bowling alley’s bathroom, where the boy said he took the photos allegedly sent to Goewey.
Deputy State’s Attorney Christina Rainville said in an interview that the newer charges were only passed in 2011 and given a closer reading by the state, it was determined they applied.
Bennington attorney Daniel M. McManus, who represents Goewey, said in an interview the human trafficking charge was not intended to be applied to the sort of behavior being alleged. He said the state’s reading of the statute is "tortured, at best" and that prosecutors are "Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole."
McManus said the human trafficking statute is aimed at people who kidnap or otherwise coerce others into the sex trade. He said he expects more litigation over the validity of the charge.