March 20, 2012
For more information, please contact
Michael Guest at (601) 825-1472
Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today, following a multi-day trial, that Joe Earl Cole was found guilty of sexual battery and gratification of lust involving three children who were 7-9 years of age when the crimes occurred. Cole was sentenced to serve 35 years in the custody of the Department of Corrections with the last 10 years suspended. The 25 years will have to be served day-for-day in prison without the possibility of parole or early release. In addition, he will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from custody.
In September of 2010, the Pearl Police Department received information regarding several young girls that had been fondled by Cole. The victims were interviewed by the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) who determined that the disclosures were consistent with a child who had been sexually abused. Cole was arrested and declined to make a statement to law enforcement.
During the investigation it was determined that Cole had fondled the children at his residence over a period of approximately two years.
Guest stated, “Cole was found guilty of molesting each of these children. The victims’ family placed trust in Cole to watch over and safeguard their children and Cole used this time as an opportunity to commit dangerous acts against these children.”
Guest added, “Cole is in my mind one of the worst of all the criminals we prosecute, a child molester who harms young innocent children. I hope that the children who had to undergo abuse at the hands of Cole will now be able to begin moving forward with the knowledge that Cole will no longer be able to hurt them or anyone else. “
Guest concluded, “These types of cases are often very difficult cases to prosecute, but the combined work of the Pearl Police Department, the Children’s Advocacy Center and the Mississippi Department of Human Services resulted in a conviction that removed a child molester from our community. This conviction and sentence will require that Cole send every day of the next twenty five years in jail and he will not be eligible for release until he is 85 years old.”