August 21, 2018
COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery announces that James Matthew Cole, 64, of Lacombe, was sentenced Monday (August 20) to 99 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed, for sexual battery of a victim under 13.
District Judge Scott Gardner also sentenced Cole to 40 years in prison for second degree rape and 40 years for molestation of a juvenile, also the maximum sentences. All of the sentences are to be served concurrently.
A St. Tammany Parish jury found Cole guilty earlier this month of abusing a girl from the time she was 9 or 10 years old for several years. The victim told authorities that she pleaded with Cole to stop touching her and he agreed if she would do something sexual for him once a month. In Sept. 2015, he began raping her.
The victim, who now lives out of state, later told her mother, who contacted police. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Rockwall County Sheriff’s Office in Texas, investigated the case. The Dallas Area Children’s Advocacy Center also assisted.
Assistant District Attorney Casey Dieck, who prosecuted the case, read a statement from the mother of the victim about the impact of the crime on the girl’s life. “She has had anxiety attacks, nightmares, and has even resorted to cutting, and suicidal thoughts,” the mother’s statement said. “We take her to counseling every Monday to help her cope with what you did to her… You have ultimately changed all of our lives because of what you did.”
During the sentencing hearing, Gardner noted the weight of the evidence against Cole and the impact of the crimes on the victims, which included three prior victims who testified about how Cole abused them 30 years ago.
Assistant District Attorney Holly McGinness assisted in the prosecution.