KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A man is facing a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole after being found guilty of raping a child multiple times over the course of several years.
Vernon Gouge, 47, was found guilty of three counts of rape of a child, one count of
attempted rape of a child, and one count of aggravated sexual battery.
Prosecutors in Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen’s office told jurors that Gouge had dated the victim’s mother and was the victim’s de facto father figure, having raised the victim since she was a baby.
The Department of Children’s Services learned of the abuse in April 2019 when the victim was 15. Starting when the victim was 9 years old and continuing until she turned 12, Gouge raped and sexually assaulted the victim on multiple occasions.
“The community is safer because of the bravery shown by this victim coming forward to
testify against her abuser,” said DA Charme Allen.
Rape of a child is a Class A felony that carries a punishment of 25 to 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole. On each of the counts of aggravated sexual battery, Gouge is facing eight to 12 years in prison.
Sentencing is set for June 24. A release from Allen’s office says that prosecutors will ask the judge for the maximum sentence on each count and to run those counts consecutive to each other.