Former East Point cop accused of sexual assault acquitted on 7 counts

Jury deadlocks on remaining 10 charges; prosecutors plan to retry case
<p>Richard Gooddine has been processed into the Fulton County Jail.&nbsp;</p>

<p>Richard Gooddine has been processed into the Fulton County Jail.&nbsp;</p>

A former East Point police officer accused of inappropriately touching three women and two teenage girls during his time on the force was acquitted on seven charges Friday morning.

The jury hung on the remaining 10 counts against former police Sgt. Richard Gooddine, who has been in jail since his August 2018 arrest.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Shakura Ingram agreed to accept a partial verdict after jurors said they were unable to reach a consensus on the 10 charges. Prosecutor Yolanda Mack indicated the state would retry the former officer on those counts.

The 41-year-old Gooddine faced 17 charges, including child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, sexual assault by a law enforcement officer and violating his oath of office. He was accused of molesting two girls younger than 16, including one that he “mentored,” and inappropriately touching three other women during their arrests.

Jurors deliberated about 10 hours over three days before submitting their partial verdict just before noon. On Friday morning, the judge instructed the jurors to keep working toward a verdict after at least three said they didn’t expect to reach a consensus.

The jury acquitted Gooddine on one count of child molestation, two counts of sexual assault by a law enforcement officer, one count of aggravated sexual battery and three counts of violating his oath of office.

The 10 hung counts came because one juror believed Gooddine was innocent and never changed her position.

“During the defense’s presentation of the case, (she was) sitting in the front row shaking her head in agreement,” another juror told the judge in an email sent Friday morning before court. “This juror made up her mind then and was very obvious in court and has not listened to the other 11 jurors in our deliberations.”

During the nine-day trial, jurors heard from Gooddine’s alleged victims, including a grandmother and a woman who was homeless when she alleged the officer reached into her pants during a shoplifting arrest.

“I felt very violated. I didn’t know what to do,” said the woman, who was arrested in 2016 after stealing food from a Walmart. “I didn’t have anything down there.”

The grandmother sobbed on the witness stand as she recalled feeling violated by Gooddine as he buckled her into his patrol car during a 2018 arrest.

“He gave a sigh as if he got great pleasure out of it,” the woman said. “All I wanted to do was get away from him.”

Three formal complaints were lodged against Gooddine over the years, but he was cleared during each subsequent internal affairs investigation, his attorney Rudjard Hayes noted during closing arguments.

Former East Point police Chief Tommy Gardner testified at trial that Gooddine was fired from the department in 2018 after a fourth complaint of sexual misconduct involving the 15-year-old.

Hayes said there were “large holes” in the prosecution’s case that led the jurors to return not-guilty verdicts on seven of the charges his client faced.

“Any time you don’t have a conviction, it’s a victory. But it was not a complete victory because he wasn’t acquitted on the other 10,” Hayes told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the verdict was read. “It’s disheartening for him that he has to face this again ... but he was thrilled that he was acquitted of the seven counts.”

Gooddine will remain in jail for now, but his attorneys plan to ask that he be released on bond.