PHOENIXVILLE - Phoenixville detectives arrested an 18-year-old resident Thursday morning on various charges, including indecent assault and corruption of minors, after he allegedly assaulted a preschooler in her second-floor bedroom approximately 22 months ago.
Joshua Michael Gooding, 18, of the 1st block of Washington Avenue, Phoenixville, was arraigned before District Justice Ted Michaels Thursday afternoon on charges of indecent assault; corruption of minors; involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; burglary; criminal trespass; and simple assault.
According to Detective Sgt. Thomas J. Goggin, detectives arrested Gooding at the Chester County Courthouse after Gooding pled guilty to theft charges before Judge Paula Francisco Ott in a previous case.
"He (Gooding) had been in Chester County Prison since January on theft charges," said Goggin. "He appeared before Judge Ott this morning, pled guilty, and was placed on two years probation and granted time served. We immediately took him into custody with our arrest warrant on these charges. He knew the charges were coming against him. He was very stoic."
Goggin said that in the early hours of September 5, 2002, Gooding entered a residence along the 500 block of Reeves Drive through a second-story screened window.
"Gooding placed a pillow over the then 3-year-old girl and assaulted the child," said Goggin. "Once he left the residence through the same window, the child went to wake her parents up and told them about the assault. The parents immediately contacted police."
The child was taken to Phoenixville Hospital immediately for treatment, and then transferred to Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania for further evaluation and testing, said Goggin. Detectives secured the child's bedroom as a crime scene and obtained various items from the room for analysis. Phoenixville police conducted a county-wide manhunt for the suspect, and sought all information possible to help solve this case.
The family has since moved from the area, but were kept in touch throughout the investigation and events leading up to the arrest, said Goggin.
Goggin said a huge break in the case came when detectives found a match between two separate pieces of DNA evidence.
"We were able to reveal an obscure piece of DNA evidence from the child's room," said Goggin. "Along with all of the tips we'd received, Gooding's name came up a few times. The more I investigated him, the more our suspicions were reinforced. We received a sample of Gooding's DNA (after his arrest on other charges) and the identification was confirmed through analysis."
Goggin said detectives met with Gooding about the charges from the incident, and he admitted to the detailed facts of the crime.
Ironically, back on the second day of the investigation in September 2002, Goggin said in an interview with The Phoenix, "With the manpower and man-hours that are being put into this case, we are bound to get the one break we are looking for. We will find something of this individual's that will reveal an identity and lead to an arrest."
Detectives escorted Gooding from Chester County Courthouse to Phoenixville's District Court Wednesday around 1:30 p.m. He was given an affidavit of probable cause to review, and placed in a holding cell.
While appearing before Michaels during his arraignment, Gooding acknowledged that he understood everything he was being charged with.
When asked of his previous criminal history, Gooding told Michaels that he'd been arrested on three separate occasions: criminal theft for stealing a car; driving without a license; and for possession of underage pornography. Gooding also admitted to Michaels that he'd been hospitalized eight years ago at Paoli Hospital for attempted suicide, and was taking several post-traumatic depression medications while in prison.
Prior to Michaels' setting his bail, Gooding told the judge that he has lost a lot of contact with family and friends, and during his time in prison, he has attended school and counseling to help straighten himself out.
"I don't have any resources to run with," said Gooding. "I want to deal with these charges."
Goggin told Michaels that with the seriousness of the charges, the commonwealth feels that he may be a flight risk, despite Gooding's claim of lack of resources.
Expressing concern with the nature and severity of the charges, Michaels said to Gooding, "I'm also concerned with the emotional aspects that you've expressed, and your mental and emotional stability."
With that, Michaels set Gooding's bail at $100,000 cash bail. Gooding's next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday, July 8, at 9 a.m.
As Gooding was being led out of district court, he began to resist going outside to face the media coverage. Regardless, he was escorted out of the building and into a waiting car, transported to Schuylkill Township for processing, then taken back to Chester County Prison.
Goggin said the arrest is a reflection of the high caliber of police work that's done in the Phoenixville Police Department.
"We were able to successfully identify the suspect and build a strong case for prosecution," said Goggin. "We are hoping that with the identification of this individual that it will restore a sense of security and calmness to the victim's family and the community at large."
The Phoenixville Police Department was assisted in the investigation by the Chester County District Attorney's Office; the Pennsylvania State Police; the Behavioral Science Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Willistown (Chester County) Police Department.