KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Robert Vernon Gouge, 47, learned his sentence Friday for the rape of a child he helped raise. Gouge was convicted in April of three counts of rape of a child, one count of attempted rape of a child and one count of aggravated sexual battery.
He was sentenced to 99 years in prison by Judge Kyle Hixon.
Prosecutors said during the trial that Gouge on multiple occasions during a three-year period raped and sexually assaulted the daughter of a woman he was dating. Gouge was a “de facto father figure” to the girl according to a release from Knox County District Attorney Charme Allen and prosecutors cited the necessity of a maximum sentence during the sentencing hearing to protect the victim and other victims of child abuse.
“The community is safer because of the bravery shown by this victim coming forward to testify against her abuser,” Allen said. “No other child will be harmed by this offender.”