York man guilty in 2 child sex assaults sentenced to at least 17 years in prison

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A York City man convicted of sexually assaulting two little girls has been sentenced to 17 to 34 years in state prison.

Terrell Debarge Gable, 33, appeared in York County Court on Monday, June 4, where Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook imposed sentence. She gave him credit for the roughly 2½ years he's already served in prison, according to court records.

Terrell Debarge Gable

Gable maintains his innocence, according to Jennifer Smith, who jointly defended him at trial with fellow attorney Korey Leslie.

"He's anxious to appeal," she said of her client.

A jury on Jan. 18 found Gable guilty of the felonies of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child and indecent assault of a child less than 13 years old, as well as two counts of misdemeanor corruption of minors.

At trial, deputy prosecutor Teresa Jauregui argued the girls had no reason to lie about the assaults.

After Monday's sentencing, Jauregui told The York Dispatch she appreciates the fact that the judge stacked the sentences in each case, rather than order them to run concurrently.

"It is only fair and just for our criminal justice system to run these sorts of cases consecutive to each other because it's important we acknowledge the trauma these victims have endured, and to treat (each attack) separately," she said.

"Both of them will have to cope with the trauma they have endured," Jauregui said of Gable's victims.

The victims: One girl was about 3½ years old when Gable made her lie on a kitchen table as he assaulted her in 2014, according to Jauregui.

The other girl was somewhere between 7 and 9 years old when she was assaulted. It's unclear exactly when it occurred because the girl didn't immediately report the attack, the prosecutor said.

"She thought she was going to get yelled at — that it was her fault," Jauregui has said.

In that attack, Gable crept into the girl's home through a window that didn't lock and raped her on a first-floor couch where she'd been sleeping, the prosecutor said.

The girl testified at trial that she yelled for help but Gable told her to shut up, according to Jauregui.

Afterward, he smoked a cigarette before leaving, she said.

Gable knows the girl and her family, and he knew the window lock was broken, according to Jauregui.

"He took an opportunity he couldn't pass up when he saw a young girl sleeping," she told the jury.

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The defense: Smith urged jurors during her closing argument to consider whether the delay in reporting suggested the girls' reports weren't credible.

She argued that a kitchen is a risky place to commit such an act.

"If you were going to sexually assault a child, would you do it in the most vulnerable room in the house?" Smith asked, adding no one else in the home heard anything that night.

Blackouts: She told jurors that Gable suffered from blackouts and can't remember what happened during them. 

Gable kept telling York City Police Detective Kyle Hower during his police interview, "I'll just tell you what you want to hear," Smith noted.

But Jauregui reminded jurors that Hower consistently replied to Gable that he only wanted the truth.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.