Retired Priest Sentenced to Probation

Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)
June 1, 1995

A 90-year-old retired Roman Catholic priest accused of having sexually molested four children while he was a parish priest in Charleston in the late 1970s was sentenced to probation Wednesday in Charleston County General Sessions Court.

Circuit Judge Don Rushing sentenced the Rev. Justin Goodwin to 10 years in prison, suspended upon service of five years probation.

Goodwin was charged last year with three counts of committing a lewd act with a minor and two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

According to warrants, the alleged incidents occurred at Blessed Sacrament Church rectory at Moore Drive and Savannah Highway in 1978 and 1979. The four victims were 8, 11 and 12 years old at the time.

Goodwin on Wednesday entered an Alford plea to a charge of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, 9th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Debbie Herring-Lash said.

An Alford plea means that Goodwin did not admit to any wrongdoing, but felt the evidence would result in a conviction, Herring-Lash said.

Herring-Lash said the plea was a result of a plea bargain and that she recommended probation instead of jail for Goodwin.


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