October 17, 2021

Suspect in rape faces new charges

Shenandoah Briere/contributing photographer

Raymond Cole, Jr., left, leaves Cortland City Court following his arraignment on charges that he held a woman in a closet and raped her repeatedly over four days. File photo from June 2019.

New charges were filed Thursday against Raymond Cole Jr., who city police said raped and held captive in his basement over four days a woman who remained unresponsive and in critical condition Thursday in the hospital.

It wasn’t the first time he kept women, including the victim, locked in the basement, a witness said in a deposition filed Thursday.

Cole, 58, of Cortland was arraigned in Cortland City Court on charges of second-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, felonies. These felonies come after Cole was first arraigned Tuesday on charges of first-degree rape and first-degree unlawful imprisonment, felonies. He was also arraigned on three counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

The victim told police Cole held her captive for four days, locked in a basement closet, injected her with a kind of bath salts called Molly and raped her daily.

Victoria L. Rigg told police she knew of someone else Cole had locked in the basement.

“He locks these girls in the basement like they are his prisoners,” she said in the statement. “He doesn’t let anyone in or out, the basement is always locked.”

Rigg also told police she had seen Cole inject the victim with Molly and that on Monday she had been at Cole’s residence and could hear the victim crying while she was locked in the basement.

Cole denied the allegations in a statement to police, stating he and the victim had been in a relationship for a year and half. He also said she missed a court appearance Friday and knew she would have a warrant out for her arrest and they had consensual sex on Thursday, the night she got out of jail.

Cortland County District Attorney Patrick Perfetti said the woman was arrested Monday on a bench warrant stemming from an unrelated matter. However, Perfetti said the warrant was issued after she failed to appear Monday for drug treatment court.

In the victim’s statement to police she said that her last sexual contact with Cole before the alleged rape was in April. She told police she went to Cole’s house Friday to get bags he’d been watching for her while she was in jail and that is when he injected her with drugs and forced her to have sex. Afterward, she said, he padlocked her in a basement closet, opening it to rape her daily, give her a Popsicle, water or bite of a sandwich a few times daily or get her high on drugs. The woman said she was held captive in the closet for four days and injected with drugs at least 30 times.

She said Cole released her Monday and told her to head out the back door after hearing police were coming to his residence.

Cortland police responded at 12:45 p.m. Monday to 13 Brown Ave. to check on the woman after someone reported they believed a woman at that location was in danger.

When police arrived, Cole refused to let them in. However, officers said they saw the woman emerge out the back door.

The victim was taken to the Guthrie Cortland Medical Center after police said “she became so profoundly impaired by controlled substances.” She remained in critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit Thursday afternoon. The district attorney’s office said hospital staff were trying to take her off a ventilator, but she remained unresponsive.

Another witness, Roger L. Morgan Jr., also told police he saw Cole make the woman go in the closet.

“Ray would open it up, move the shelves around and force (the woman) to crawl in there,” he said in the statement. “Ray would make (her) go in there if she didn’t want to have sex with him.”

Cole has a history of being arrested and convicted of drug and violent offenses, including a 2007 conviction for attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance, a 2010 probation violation, and several other arrests.

He was convicted in a 2004 incident in which he was charged with kidnapping and holding a woman against her will, and possessing a weapon.

A 41-page criminal history on Cole was provided to Perfetti, Assistant District Attorney Jessica Wyatt and Cole’s lawyer Luke Fenchel.

Cole was returned to Cortland County Jail on the new charges and is due to appear Monday in Cortland City Court for a preliminary hearing.