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Thu., Oct. 8
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Rogers sentences Franklin County man to 40 years in prison


MALONE - A Constable man was sent to state prison for 40 years afternoon after having been convicted of multiple rape counts at trial in December in Franklin County Court.

Donald Gokey, 22, was found guilty of four counts of first-degree rape, four counts of first-degree criminal sexual act, and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. They decided that Gokey had sex with a then-12-year-old girl on multiple occasions between January and March 2011. In addition to the prison time, Gokey will also have to undergo 20 years of post-release supervision.

District Attorney Derek Champagne said he feels Acting County Court Judge Kathleen Rogers made the right decision in handing down the stiff sentence, although he had asked for a sentence of 60 years.

“I think it’s appropriate – he showed no remorse whatsoever,” he said. “I don’t believe he can be rehabilitated.”

Mr. Champagne said Gokey “made an attempt to apologize” when given a chance to speak on his own behalf and when the judge asked him to elaborate what he meant Gokey replied that he was sorry for what the family went through.

“He’s in a different place as far as reality is concerned,” according to Mr. Champagne, who also lauded the victim’s courage in “standing up and telling the jury what was done to her.”

“He twisted her trust, gained access, and exploited the child for his sexual gratification,” Mr. Champagne said.

Gokey’s attorney, Edward Narrow of Syracuse, said his client feels “spending the rest of his life in state prison is disappointing.

“All the judge did was hold the defendant accountable for actions be was convicted of,” Mr. Narrow said. “We were hoping for Donald to participate in programming at the Department of Corrections, make atonement for what he had done, serve his punishment, and later on become a productive member of society. I don’t think the sentence today gave that opportunity.”

Gokey had jumped bail on two occasions while the case was still pending. In March 2011, he was in Virginia and had to be extradited when a warrant was originally issued for his arrest. A month later in April, he jumped bail, and fled to Alabama. His mother and step-father had posted his $55,000 bail. He was arrested two months later in June using a fake identity, after having been tasered for resisting arrest.

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