ANCHORAGE - A former Anchorage police officer, convicted of trying to convince his underage girlfriend to lie about sex, has been sentenced to six months in jail.
William "Chris" Goldberg also was fined $2,500 and was placed on probation for five years at his sentencing hearing Monday in Anchorage District Court.
Goldberg resigned from the police department in June of last year after initial charges were filed. He had been charged with seven felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor. But prosecutors dropped those charges earlier this month, expressing doubts they could convince a jury that Goldberg knew the girl was underage. In addition, the girl didn't want to pursue charges against him.
Instead, Goldberg was allowed to plead no contest to a single misdemeanor charge of attempted tampering with a witness.
The defense was stunned by the sentence handed down by Judge James Wanamaker. It is unusual for a first-time offender to get more than a few days of jail time plus community work service for a nonviolent misdemeanor.
But Assistant Attorney General Brian Clark said the judge was reflecting public outrage over dishonesty by a police officer. Goldberg, 32, was an Anchorage police officer for 10 years.
Defense attorney Ray Brown said his client would have done better to go to trial on the original sex charges because he probably would have been acquitted
According to the original accusations, Goldberg met the girl in 1997, when she was 15. She told him she was 17. The two began dating although Goldberg was married at the time and had two children. His wife has since divorced him and left the state.
Goldberg and the girl say they did not have sex until after her birthday, in February 1998. She told Goldberg it was her 18th birthday. In fact, it was her 16th.
At Monday's hearing, several of Goldberg's friends, including two pastors and a police sergeant, told the judge that the ruin of his career, the loss of his family and the public humiliation have left Goldberg "a broken man."
In court, Goldberg apologized to the girl, his family and the police department.
Wanamaker called Goldberg "a worst offender" because he was a police officer who was "willing to both lie and induce another person to lie."
Brown said he and Goldberg had not yet decided on an appeal of the sentence.