December 1, 2021

Cortland man sentenced to 20 years in rape

Kevin Conlon/city editor

Raymond Cole Jr., left, sits Friday with his attorney, Luke Fenchel, as a jury announced they had convicted Cole of four of 18 felony counts for holding a woman against her will in May 2019, drugging her and raping her.

A Cortland man convicted of drugging, raping and imprisoning a woman in May 2019 in his home was sentenced Thursday in Cortland County Court to 20 years in prison, even as he denied guilt.

Raymond Cole Jr., 59, was convicted July 24 of first-degree rape, second-degree assault, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree unlawful imprisonment, felonies, following a trial interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Judge Julie A. Campbell sentenced him to 20 years in prison with 10 years of post-release supervision on the rape count, seven years in prison and 10 years of supervision on the assault, 3 1/2 to 7 1/2 years probation for the weapons possession and two to four years probation for the imprisonment. The sentences will run concurrently.

“Justice for the victim.” Assistant District Attorney Jessica Weyant said. “That is what we’re here for.”

Cole used the victim as he saw fit to drug, rape and imprison without consideration for her, Weyant said, and a strong sentence couldn’t help the victim get her life back to how it was before the events but could bring justice against Cole.

He was initially indicted on several counts of rape, but convicted of just one.

Prosecutors said that Cole held the victim for four days.

Weyant asked for 25 years in prison and 25 years of post-release supervision.

Defense attorney Luke Fenchel said Cole, who has a criminal history dating to 1977, pleaded guilty over the years to offenses he took responsibility for.

Fenchel questioned the victim’s credibility, because she gave contradictory answers on whether she was free to come and go as she pleased or was she locked in a closet, as the prosecution claimed.

Fenchel wanted Campbell to consider this in sentencing.

Cole made a statement, denying culpability. “I’m the victim here,” he said, adding he has always shown remorse for crimes he committed.

Campbell noted that Cole had been arrested approximately 30 times.

Following the sentencing, an order of protection for the victim was filed to be effective until 2047.

Cole was also offered to sign an intent to appeal to the state’s Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, which he did.

Cole was originally accused of holding the 34year-old woman captive in his 13 Brown Ave., Cortland residence from May 30 to June 3, 2019, drugging her with a “bath salt” type drug known as Molly and raping her repeatedly.

Cole’s trial, which began in March, had to be postponed until July because of the coronavirus pandemic.