KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Prosecutors in District Attorney Charme Allen’s Child Abuse Unit secured a 99-year sentence for a man who allegedly raped a child multiple times over the course of several years.
Robert Vernon Gouge, 47, was convicted of three counts of Rape of a Child, one count of Attempted Rape of a Child and one count of Aggravated Sexual Battery. Judge Kyle Hixson pronounced the sentence after a hearing today where prosecutors cited the necessity of maximum sentence to protect the victim, officials said.
In April, Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Lambert and Tammy Hicks explained that Gouge dated the victim’s mother and was a father figure, raising the victim since she was a child, according to a release. Gouge raped and sexually assaulted the victim starting at nine years old and continuing until she was twelve, officials said.
The Department of Children’s Services learned of the abuse in April 2019 when the victim was 15. Knoxville Police Department Investigator Shaun Sakovich conducted interviews and eventually arrested Gouge.
“The community is safer because of the bravery shown by this victim coming forward to testify against her abuser,” said DA Charme Allen. “No other child will be harmed by this offender.”
Copyright 2021 WVLT. All rights reserved.