RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A Washoe Valley man has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault on a child.
62-year-old Thomas Goepner was found guilty of five counts of Sexual Assault on a Child Under the Age of Fourteen Years, three counts of Sexual Assault on a Child Under the Age of Sixteen Years, two Counts of Sexual Assault and one count of Open and Gross Lewdness.
Goepner was arrested in October 2016 after an investigation by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Crimes Against Persons Unit.
The case began patrol deputies responded to a report of a sexual assault and met met with a 16-year-old victim and several of her family members and friends. The girl reported she had been sexually abused by Goepner since age 8 and that she had recently disclosed that abuse to others.
Based on interviews with the victim and witnesses, as well as evidence collected from Goepner's home, investigators determined Goepner had been sexually assaulting the victim for more than eight years. The Washoe County District Attorney's Office says Goepner forced the girl to perform sexual acts on multiple occasions and threatened her so she wouldn't tell.
Goepner was also convicted of having groped a second female victim. The investigation also revealed Goepner was reported to have repeatedly sexually assaulted another child in the late 1980s, but he was unable to be prosecuted because the crimes were reported after the statute of limitations.
The Washoe County District Attorney's Office says he will not be eligible for parole until he has served 175 years.
The prosecution was coordinated through the Washoe County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) multi-disciplinary team including authorities from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, the Washoe County Child Abuse Response and Evaluation team, Washoe County Social Services, and the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office.
The DA's office says the CAC's mission is to safeguard the health and safety of children in our community who are victims of abuse through a neutral, child-centered environment. To date, more than 1200 forensic interviews of children have been conducted. Since opening, more than 90 life sentences have been imposed on sexual and physical abusers of children.