McGowan gets four-year sentence
Convicted sex offender John McGowan, a cable talk show host and former Danbury mayoral candidate, was described by his victim as a sexually violent "monster" at his sentencing Friday in Litchfield Superior Court.
Judge James Ginnochio imposed a sentence of four years in prison, followed by 10 years of special parole with provisions that included lifetime registration as a sex offender and no contact with the victim or her family.
About a dozen McGowan family members and friends suggested just the opposite. They portrayed the 45-year-old Bethel man, who defended himself at his six-juror trial, as an honest, gentle, caring soul, a loyal son who never harmed anyone.
Mr. McGowan's mother, Kathy, implored Judge Ginnochio to use his "gut" to see the defendant's innocence.
At the end, the judge said his gut instinct was to side with the jury that ruled Mr. McGowan raped the woman with whom he was in a dating relationship.
On the day of this crime, the judge said, Mr. McGowan betrayed the trust of a woman who had loved him. At the trial, jurors determined Mr. McGowan forcibly overruled his victim's objection to anal intercourse, raping her repeatedly.
The victim testified in court Friday she feared for her life and, regardless of what happened to Mr. McGowan, this crime inflicted upon her a "life sentence" of emotional pain. She said he stripped her of her humanity.
To a packed courtroom, Judge Ginnochio said he could derive "no motive" for the woman, identified only as Jane Doe, to endure public humiliation and a trial if she had not been victimized.
In an emotional outcry, Mr. McGowan's friend, Chris Salonia, said the victim's case was a "big lie because she got caught cheating on her boyfriend.''
Assistant State's Attorney David Shannon objected to attacks on the victim, a request Judge Ginnochio upheld. He reminded McGowan friends and family that he would not revisit the trial.
For the judge, this case boiled down to one simple word: "No.''
"No means no,'' he said, noting husbands cannot force wives to engage in sexual acts without their consent.
In offering his sentence, the judge appeared to weigh the fact that Mr. McGowan had no prior record. The felony charges carry a minimum sentence of two years in prison, followed by eight years of special parole.
Mr. Shannon argued for a six-year incarceration, followed by 14 years of parole; Mr. McGowan's attorneys, Michael Voytek of Bridgeport and Thomas Thornsberry of Stratford, recommended the minimum sentence.
Mr. McGowan defended himself in the trial, but retained lawyers to file an immediate appeal. He is allowed to remain free until appeal if he posts a $100,000 cash or surety bond.