March 18, 2005

Pastor avoids prison time in sexual assault case

New York Newsday

March 17, 2005, 11:33 PM EST

NORWICH, Conn. -- A former Norwich pastor has avoided prison time after pleading no contest to coercion charges related to the alleged sexual assaults of two girls.

Isaac Goodwater, 48, was released on two years of conditional discharge after a sentencing hearing Thursday in New London Superior Court. If he violates the terms of the discharge, he could be sent to prison.

Goodwater was arrested in 2003 while he was pastor at the Emmanuel Church of God in Christ. He was initially charged with first-degree and fourth-degree sexual assault and two counts of risk of injury to a minor.

The charges were reduced to two counts of coercion as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

He was accused in 2003 of assaulting a girl he had met at the church in his car. Norwich police arrested him again later the same year when allegations surfaced that he had fondled a 13-year-old parishioner in a church office three years earlier.

Goodwater declined comment at court Thursday morning. It is not clear whether he still works at the church.

Posted by kshaw at March 18, 2005 02:20 AM