The following is a press release issued by the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office:
Defendant Dana McGowan, 70 years old of Rohnert Park, was sentenced yesterday by the Honorable Christopher Honigsberg to serve 45 years-to-life in state prison following his pleas of “no contest” in June of this year to multiple charges of child molestation.
District Attorney Jill Ravitch said, “This sentence would not have been possible but for the strength of the young victims in the case. Their willingness and ability to confront this man in court not only resulted in his having to take responsibility for what he did to them, but assures that he can’t hurt others in the future. This case is also a painful reminder to all of us to speak up if you see something that causes concern about the welfare of another.”
Arrested in 2020, McGowan’s crimes were brought to the attention of the Rohnert Park Police Department by then 17-year-old Jane Doe who was determined to stop McGowan from his near decade of sexual abuse. McGowan began abusing Ms. Doe when she was six years old. By the time Ms. Doe was twelve, her family dynamic had changed, and she was able to get away from the defendant and his family, ending the abuse against her. During the investigation, detectives learned that this young Jane Doe was not McGowan’s only victim. From 2009 until 2020, McGowan abused a total of four victims. Upon being contacted by law enforcement, all victims reported continual sexual abuse by McGowan over several years. While many of the victims were reporting historical abuse (incidents that occurred years prior to their contact with law enforcement) one victim reported abuse occurring as recently as August 2020. McGowan gained access to the young females through family friendships, most of which began through work and social relationships.
During sentencing, the young victims gave very impactful statements detailing the abuse they suffered and the lasting traumatic effect his actions have had on their lives. One victim recounted, “I didn’t want to sleep in my own bed for a while and didn’t like to be in the dark.” She continued stating that she is relieved to know McGowan will spend his life in prison. “I won’t think about you and what you did, because you don’t deserve anymore of my thoughts.” Another victim was optimistic about her future after the sentencing stating, “One day I won’t live in fear anymore.” Another victim bravely asserted that she refused to take any more abuse and was working towards living a normal life. During the statements McGowan hung his head down, staring at the table in front of him.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Leslie D Butori, assisted by District Attorney Advocate Elizabeth Garcia and District Attorney Investigator Dave Linscomb. Rohnert Park Police Department headed the investigation.