UPDATED: January 15th @12:49 with press release from Department of Justice.
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — A family member of Boca Raton Realtor Gary Goldberg, sentenced Monday to 13 years in prison for sexual misconduct with two teen girls, spoke exclusively this morning with BocaNewsNow.com.
The family member, who telephoned and text messaged our news desk, says that there are two sides to the 49-year-old man.
“He was my best friend,” said the family member, who asked to remain anonymous. “I believe his judgment was wrong and the girls’ willingness to aid him in the crime happily is wrong as well. He is not a bad person but he committed his first offense and I believe the time he was sentenced is a little dramatic.”
Prosecutors, however, say a 49-year-old man can not blame the teenagers he victimized.
The Department of Justice Wednesday issued this press release:
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Gary Goldberg, 49, of Palm Beach County, was sentenced yesterday to 156 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra in West Palm Beach for enticing a minor to engage in an illegal sexual activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b).
According to documents filed with the court, Goldberg entered into a relationship with a 17-year-old victim and her 15-year-old friend. Goldberg paid the minors to allow him to take sexually explicit photographs of them.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, the Boca Raton Police Department, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, and the South Florida Minor Vice Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lothrop Morris.
Police say that Goldberg performed oral sex on one of the teenage girls in the bathroom of the BP station at Glades and Butts Roads.
The family member told BocaNewsNow.com that the girls lied about their ages, although the lying doesn’t mitigate the seriousness of the offense to which Goldberg plead guilty in federal court.
“Although he did a crime which he openly, mentally and physically regrets, he is a kind gentle man, never neglected his children or wife, and always cared for (his family) with his heart.”
Here is our original reporting following his arrest by Boca Raton Police. He was later arrested by the FBI.