Jury finds Lacombe man guilty of raping a juvenile


Cole James Matthew

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COVINGTON, La. — A Lacombe man is facing 25-99 years in prison after he was convicted Friday of raping and molesting a girl under the age of 13.

According to District Attorney Warren Montgomery, a St. Tammany Parish jury found James Matthew Cole, 64, of Lacombe, guilty Friday of second degree rape, molestation of a juvenile, and sexual battery of a victim under 13.  He faces 25 to 99 years in prison when he is sentenced by District Judge Scott Gardner.

The charges involve a single victim, who was 9 or 10 years old when Cole first fondled her.  The abuse continued for two years, despite the victim’s pleas for him not to touch her any more.  The victim told authorities that Cole agreed to stop if she would do something sexual for him once a month.  In September 2015, Cole went to the victim, told her it was his one time a month, and raped her.

The crimes came to light a few months later when the victim 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.

In 1992, Cole pleaded guilty to indecent behavior with a juvenile in a separate case.  Three prior victims also testified during the trial last week that he had abused them 30 years ago.

The jury deliberated about three hours before returning the guilty verdict. Assistant District Attorneys Casey Dieck and Holly McGinness prosecuted the case.


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