Rockland man charged in sex assault on toddler

This story was published on March 25, 2006 on Page C4 in edition 1 of the Bangor Daily News

ROCKLAND – A city man has been charged with sexually assaulting the 17-month-old boy he was baby-sitting.

City detectives arrested George Gossage, 36, in Bangor on Thursday on a felony warrant charging him with unlawful sexual contact.

He is accused of assaulting the toddler with a screwdriver Feb. 27 in Rockland.

The child was taken to Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport, then to Maine Medical Center in Portland for further treatment.

According to an affidavit filed in Knox County Superior Court, Rockland Detective Russell Thompson said he was called to the Rockport hospital and saw that the boy’s anus was bruised and swollen and had visible tears to its exterior. The most significant tear was three-quarters of an inch long. The boy had been admitted because of rectal bleeding.

The boy’s mother told Thompson that she had left him and her other son with Gossage the night before. She said that when she picked up her children, Gossage told her the boy “had a hard poop.” It was when she took the diaper off to give her son a bath that she noticed the bleeding. The boy was taken to the hospital.

The nurse-practitioner who examined the boy told police “no bowel movement” could have caused the tearing she saw. She said the injury was “definitely” caused by the intrusion of some object. The boy’s injury did not require surgery.

Thompson and Detective James Pease conducted a series of interviews with Gossage and his wife during the days and weeks that followed. Through them they learned that the wife had left for work shortly after the boys were dropped off and did not return until early the next morning.

Gossage initially insisted the boy was the source of his own injury. He denied that he did anything to the child but eventually told police he saw his wife inflicting the injury. He claimed his wife discarded the screwdriver in a Dumpster at a local fast food store.

Gossage told police he was under the care of a mental health counselor and received injections to help calm an hallucination disorder. He said he took the injections because he would forget to take pills. He also said he heard voices in his head, had out-of-body experiences, and experienced blackouts and other episodes.

When Thompson told Gossage that he did not believe his story accusing his wife, “George said he needed to talk to his counselor to find out what it was he had actually done,” the affidavit says. When Gossage told the detective it was “possible” that he may have injured the boy, Thompson drove him to the hospital for a voluntary evaluation.

Shortly after his arrival, Gossage apparently became violent and told staff he wanted to harm his wife and kids.

When his wife showed up at the emergency room to have her child checked for signs of abuse, Gossage made a throat slashing motion in her direction. The hospital sedated Gossage and transferred him to Acadia Hospital in Bangor.

He was later taken to the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor, where he remained Friday. Bail was set at $10,040 cash.