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Gibson gets 25 years in prison

May 18, 2011

A Cascade Locks man will remain in jail for 25 years for a sexual assault that placed a six-year-old girl in the emergency room last November.

Darnell Gibson, 22, was found guilty April 20 for committing unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree against a six-year-old female relative.

According to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carrie Rasmussen, the case is the first in the county under the 2006 Jessica's Law, which requires a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for adults convicted of raping, sodomizing or sexually penetrating a child under 12 years of age.

"This was one of the most hideous sexual assaults I have seen in my career," said Rasmussen, an 11-year prosecutor. She said the victim suffered traumatic physical injury in addition to the severe mental harm in the assault, which occurred Nov. 11.

Gibson must serve the entire 300 months ordered by Judge Paul Crowley. Gibson has no chance of parole or reduced time and he will be under post-prison supervision for the rest of his life.

Rasmussen added that this is "the largest sentence I've ever obtained in a child sex abuse crime."

Rasmussen credited the investigative work of Sheriff Detective Matt English and Deputy Noel Princehouse, who were assisted by deputies Chris Guertin and Joel Carmody.

"There was a great deal of physical evidence in the case, and they did excellent work in their interviews, in coordinating the evidence, and handling the incident at the hospital," Rasmussen said.

"It was one of the more horrific case of child abuse I ever investigated," English said. "The physical evidence was appalling. It was disturbing."

English added that "it was an excellent example of a multi-agency team approach," involving DHS, Providence Hood River Memorial, the Child Advocacy Center, Hood River Victims Assistance, Emmanuel Hospital, and CARES Northwest, a child advocacy service based at Emanuel.

Rasmussen said the case was greatly helped by the Columbia Gorge Advocacy Center.

"It's really outstanding that we have that facility, as a welcoming place for interviewing victims and family members," Rasmussen said. She credited the center's Michelle Tremblay for her contribution to the investigation. Before the center was created last year, the only secure location for investigators to interview a victim and family was the more intimidating booking rooms at the courthouse.

Rasmussen noted the five-month turnaround, short for a felony case, and said "this was resolved in a relatively quick manner due to the quality of the interviews.

"This type of case can take more than a year," she said.

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