When a 17-year-old girl who had been reported as endangered or missing was located at Joseph Gobrick’s residence in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he was arrested. Detectives discovered a treasure trove of child pornography portraying victims between the ages of a baby and five being sexually abused and raped after searching his electronic devices.
Gobrick claimed that the pornography in his hands was made by a computer, but investigators were able to clearly identify eight of the kids in the recordings. He is no stranger to sex offenses, which is troubling. Gobrick was convicted in a sexual assault case in New York in 2001.
Gobrick was charged with three counts of sexually abusive commercial conduct and one count of criminal use of a computer. At his trial, though, the convicted sex offender had various defense arguments that he felt were flawless.
Gobrick not only contended that having child pornography was allowed by the Constitution under the First Amendment, but he also mentioned his transgender status as an 8-year-old female. He seems to have sought to use “identity” reasoning to explain his sexual offenses.
Despite providing proof against him, Gobrick fiercely denied having a sexual attraction to minors and pledged never to violate a kid. Prosecutors claimed that the sex offender even proceeded to make pornographic pictures of abused kids while incarcerated.
Gobrick was unable to persuade the jury that the pornography he owned was genuine computer animation. He claimed to have created the photos using GIMP, a free image editing tool.
Luckily, Gobrick’s supposed identity or invocation of the Constitution did not convince Kent County Circuit Court Judge Paul Denenfield. As a result, Gobrick was convicted on all three charges and sentenced to 20 years in prison, with a minimum of 10 years.
Gobrick went far with his ridiculous legal defense. He likened his sentencing to that of Nazi Germany and said he was wrongly condemned.
Gobrick is now behind bars, unable to hurt another kid. Prison, on the other hand, will not rehabilitate the recurrent child sex offender, particularly when he is claiming an identity that may be safeguarded in the near future.
For the time being, justice has been served. It remains to be seen, though, if Gobrick’s argument sets a precedent for alleged sex offenders to use to defend their crimes by saying that they were “born this way.”