Washoe Valley man sentenced on sexual assault of child

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The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has announced Thomas Goepner, 62, from Washoe Valley, has been sentenced to life in prison after he was previously found guilty at trial on multiple counts of sexual assault on a child.

Goepner was sentenced Tuesday in Washoe County District Court by Judge Jerome Polaha on five counts of sexual assault on a child under the age of 14, three counts of sexual assault on a child under the age of 16, two counts of sexual assault and one count of open and gross lewdness. He will not be eligible for parole until 175 years has been served.

Goepner was arrested in October 2016 following an investigation by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Crimes Against Persons Unit. The case began when WCSO patrol deputies responded to a report of a sexual assault.

When deputies arrived, they met with a 16-year-old female victim and several of her family and friends. The victim reported she had been sexually abused by Goepner since age 8 and she had recently disclosed that abuse to others.

Detectives responded and began an investigation in conjunction with the Washoe County Child Advocacy Center. Based on interviews with the victim and witnesses, as well as evidence collected from the defendant’s home, investigators determined Goepner had been sexually assaulting the victim for more than 8 years. During that time, Goepner forced the young victim 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 further revealed Goepner was reported to have repeatedly sexually assaulted other child victims in the late 1980s. However, he was unable to be prosecuted because the crimes were reported after the statute of limitations had expired.


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