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Local case before Georgia Supreme Court

Oral arguments in a case involving a local child molestation case and the subsequent committal of the defendant were heard Jan. 8 before the Supreme Court of Georgia. The case involves Ryan L. McGouirk, 19, of 463 Martin Dairy Rd. McGouirk was arrested here on charges of aggravated child molestation, child molestation and arson on Jan. 27, 2016. He remained in jail until April 21, 2016 when he was released on bond. Last June, a Lamar grand jury indicted him on a number of charges alleging that, on Dec. 31, 2015, McGouirk ‘pulled down his pants, touched a five-year-old boy’s penis and had the child touch and put his mouth on McGouirk’s penis,’ according to a supreme court news release. Subsequently, his attorney filed a motion asking he be found incompetent to stand trial. Judge Bill Fears ordered McGouirk committed on June 8 and instructed that he be rehabilitated in an effort to raise his competency level to the point where he can stand trial. Judge Fears also ordered the exhibits in the case be sealed. The district attorney’s office argued that the rehabilitation effort had to be done as an inpatient under state law and the judge agreed. McGouirk’s public defenders argued rehabilitation under confinement violated his protective and due process rights. A contributing factor is the fact that aggravated child molestation is designated as a serious, violent felony under Georgia law. Allen Knox will argue the case for McGouirk. The state will be represented by district attorney Jonathan Adams and his assistant Anita Howard. ’It should be interesting,’ Adams said last week. There is no timetable for a decision by the court.

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