Goben gets 10 life terms but could be out of prison in 15 years

David Jackson

The Dallas Morning News 
Published: August 25, 1988

A Southern Baptist minister pleaded guilty Wednesday to a series of rapes in North Dallas and was sentenced to 10 concurrent life terms.

Gregory Charles Goben, 28, minister of the Outreach Baptist Church in Garland, pleaded guilty to five counts of burglary of a habitation and five counts of aggravated sexual assault, all first-degree felonies.

As part of the plea agreement, Assistant District Attorney Mike Gillett said he interviewed Goben about other offenses and Goben admitted to six additional sexual assaults, five in Dallas County and the other in Denton County.

Goben must serve at least 15 years before becoming eligible for parole, although Gillett said his office would oppose any parole attempt.

"We stressed to him that our office would do everything we could to keep him in as long as we could,' Gillett told state District Judge Ron Chapman during a hearing in which Chapman accepted the plea agreement.

A sobbing Goben, questioned during the hearing, said viewing pornographic films and magazines contributed to his behavior.

"Yes, it's going to cost me my family,' Goben said at one point.

Asked if he viewed pornography before committing the assaults, Goben said yes. After the hearing, Gillett said Goben told him that he began going to see pornographic films with fellow football players at Louisiana Tech University and continued the practice when he moved to Dallas after graduation.

The hearing included testimony from a victim who said a man broke into her bedroom early one morning in September.

"He told me that we were going to make my face all up and that he was going to shave me and that he had brought a movie for us to watch and we were going to do all of those things,' the woman said. "And that if I did everything he wanted me to do, he wouldn't kill me.'

The victim, a widow who said she lived away from her home for a month and sought counseling after the incident, said she had a special reason for wanting to testify against Goben.

"I wanted him to have to sit there and listen to what I had to say and how it made me feel when he did all of that to me,' the woman said.

Goben's family members -- including his father, mother, and two sisters -- declined to comment. Goben's wife and two children did not attend the hearing.

Defense attorney Ken Blassingame said Goben agreed to the plea arrangement because the judge could have stacked the sentences at trial -- meaning they would have to be served consecutively. However, Gillett said the offenses would have to have been tried separately in order for that happen.

"Each life sentence that is stacked is 15 calendar years,' Blassingame said. "You stack two, you get 30. You stack three, you get 45.'

Blassingame said Goben "did not want to embarrass his family by going through a trial. It happened, he's sorry about it and he's sorry about what he's done.'

Goben was arrested June 28 after what police described as an attempted break-in at the Timbercreek Apartments in the 6100 block of Northwest Highway. A grand jury indicted Goben on a charge of attempted burglary in connection with the arrest, but prosecutors dropped the charge under the plea arrangement.

An investigation of Goben linked the minister to a series of sexual assaults over the past several years, most of them involving a man breaking into an apartment and assaulting the tenant.

A grand jury indicted Goben on charges of aggravated sexual assault in cases that involved threats of bodily harm or deadly weapons, Gillett said. It indicted him on burglary charges in cases that involved non-aggravated sexual assault, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.