SALEM — When the 5-year-old girl, still in her pajamas, walked downstairs to “Big Rich’s” room one morning nearly six years ago, “she didn’t know she was walking into a nightmare,” a prosecutor told jurors yesterday.
Richard Gouker’s lawyer, meanwhile, argued that it wasn’t the little girl’s nightmare, but “every man’s nightmare, to have a little girl testify to acts like this,” acts that Gouker denies.
Gouker, 61, of 2 Marion Road, Salem, went on trial yesterday in Salem Superior Court on a charge of child rape, more than five years after he was first charged.
The girl, now 11, described to jurors how she went to Gouker’s room in the basement of his Salem home on the morning of Aug. 5, 2007.
“He had a big TV,” she told jurors. He later explained how big: 51 inches, he testified. Sometimes she would go to his room to watch it.
But on that morning, Gouker was there, she said. She soon found herself being undressed, she said, Gouker telling her not to say anything or else he would kill her mother.
The girl paused as she described what happened next. Gouker climbed on top of her, she said.
“Did it hurt?” asked prosecutor James Gubitose.
“Yes,” the girl said.
But she kept quiet, she said, fearing for her mother.
The girl’s mother later told jurors that after she underwent cancer surgery and could not work, she was forced to move with the girl to Gouker’s home.
Gouker later testified that he felt “obligated” to take them in. “She (the girl’s mother) was my girlfriend’s daughter,” he said.
Mother and daughter shared a pullout sofa bed in a room they referred to as “the library,” the girl’s mother said, making air quotes as she used the word. She paid Gouker rent from her disability insurance checks.