COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - A St. Tammany Parish jury delivered a guilty verdict against a Lacombe man accused of sexually molesting a girl over a two-year period.
District Attorney Warren Montgomery says 64-year old James Matthew Cole was convicted 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 D.A.'s office says 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 reportedly went to the victim, told her it was his one time a month, and raped her.
The allegations came to light a few months later when the victim told her mother, who contacted police.
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.