Minister gets 10 life terms in rapes, burglaries

Associated Press

THU 08/25/1988 HOUSTON CHRONICLE, Section A, Page 30, 4 STAR Edition


DALLAS - A Southern Baptist minister who said he often watched pornographic films before raping women has been sentenced to 10 life terms after pleading guilty to charges relating to a series of attacks, prosecutors said.

Gregory Charles Goben, 28, pleaded guilty Wednesday to five charges of burglary of a habitation and sexual assault and five charges of aggravated sexual assault, Dallas County assistant district attorney Mike Gillett said.

The charges were in connection with a series of sexual assaults in and around a north Dallas apartment complexes known as The Village.

State District Judge Ron Chapman in Criminal District Court of Dallas sentenced Goben to serve the terms concurrently in the Texas Department of Corrections, Gillett said.

Goben was a pastor of Outreach Baptist Church in suburban Garland. The church is one of 28 mission churches sponsored by First Baptist Church of Dallas, which provides funds to pay the minister's salary and help get the church started.

Between sobs that made his answers inaudible at times, Goben said that his actions were the result of viewing pornographic material available in the community.

As part of his plea agreement, Goben agreed to provide authorities with information on other attacks he will not be prosecuted for and agreed to submit to blood tests to determine whether he carries any sexually transmitted diseases that could have been passed on to his victims.

Chapman, who repeatedly asked Goben whether he understood the consequences of his guilty pleas, told Goben he would have to serve at least 15 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

Although her testimony was not crucial to Goben's conviction and sentence, a 46-year-old victim of Goben's testified and said she chose to do so because she wanted Goben to "have to sit here and listen to what I have to say about what he did and how I feel."

She said Goben threatened her with a knife and told her if they were able to do everything portrayed in the video tape, he would not kill her.

The woman said she is a widow who had lived alone for three years before she was assaulted and waited an entire month after the attack to return to her home.

"I decided he was not going to win out over me - he was not going to make me do anything else in my life," she said of her return home.

During his hearing, Goben testified that he viewed pornographic movies as often as once a week and many times watched one of them before committing an attack, Gillett said.

Kenneth Blassingame, Goben's attorney, said his client has accepted his fate and "wanted to get it behind him and get some help."

Goben was jailed in June after he was arrested in connection with an attempted burglary. He was later linked to a series of attacks in which a rapist wore a ski mask and generally tied his victims' hands with a belt or other article of clothing, according to police.

A graduate of Trinity Heights Christian Academy in Shreveport, La., Goben enrolled in Louisiana Tech University in nearby Ruston. He planned to be a doctor, but turned to the ministry in his senior year.