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BG man gets 15 years for child rape, related charges PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN/Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 14:17
Zachary D. Cole, left, in court with his attorney, faces Judge Alan Mayberry. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
A young boy’s life was turned upside down through the acts of Zachary D. Cole last April. For his actions, Cole will now spend 15 years in prison.
Cole, 31, of Bowling Green, accepted a plea agreement Wednesday morning for rape of an 11-year-old boy. He also pleaded guilty to five counts of pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor and 10 counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance. He also pleaded to possessing criminal tools in regard to his computer which contained the child pornography.
The mother of the boy who was raped addressed Judge Alan Mayberry prior to sentencing.
“I never dreamed I would ever be here reading this statement,” she began. 
She then elaborated about how her son’s trust and friendship with Cole was betrayed. After the offense, things changed.
Cole told her son, the mother said, that he couldn’t tell anyone about the incident or he would be in trouble. She spoke of the fear that caused her son.
“He can no longer trust people. He is scared to go outside and play for fear he might run into someone else who might harm him,” the mother said. “He has been made to feel he can’t trust anyone.”
Despite the hurt and anger in her voice, she showed a sign of hope for her son. “He says he wants to grow up to protect others.”
She asked the judge to order the agreed upon sentence.
“Prison sounds like an awful place, but it is the best place for someone like him,” she said of the defendant.
Cole was soft spoken throughout the proceedings, including when he was given the opportunity to address the court prior to sentencing.
Standing in his jail-issued orange uniform, handcuffed and shackled, Cole said, “I don’t know what I can say. I thought about what I might say but I find myself at a loss of words.”
Heather Baker, an assistant Wood County prosecutor, outlined the details of the charges for the court.
She noted the call to the police regarding the rape, which occurred in the victim’s bedroom where he had been playing video games.
In investigating the case, the police found a computer and a search warrant was executed. The search revealed the child pornography on Cole’s laptop.
Baker detailed each of the images found which had been downloaded by Cole at various times in 2011. All of the images involved mostly nude juvenile males. The five pandering charges involved images of juveniles in sexual conduct; while the 10 illegal use charges involved individual photos of nude young males.
Cole’s defense attorney, Lawrence Gold, when addressing the judge, called it “a very difficult case.”
He withdrew a motion for suppression of evidence and said his client was entering the pleas and wished to move forward.
Cole entered an “Alford plea” to the amended rape charge. Baker sought the amendment, which dropped the clause “threat of force” from the charge. The defendant pleaded guilty to all the remaining charges.
An Alford plea acknowledges there is sufficient evidence for a conviction without admitting guilt.
“I hate to use the term, it is what it is, your honor,” Gold said of the evidence. “But it is what it is.”
Gold reminded the judge that his client is a young man and will still be a relatively young man once released. “I hope he uses the time to deal with his issues.”
Before issuing the sentence, the judge mentioned a prior gross sexual imposition charge of which Cole was convicted of in Lucas County a few years ago and noted the seriousness of the crimes due to the age of the victims. He specifically noted the emotional and psychological harm caused to the rape victim.
The judge followed the recommendation ordering five years for each of the pandering and illegal use charges and 11 months for the possession of criminal tools. Those were all ordered to be served concurrently. Those years were ordered to be consecutive to the 10-year sentence handed down on the rape charge for an aggregate total of 15 years.
Based on all the evidence, Mayberry noted that “recidivism is more likely” with Cole because of the history and his “lack of any genuine remorse.”
Cole is required to register for life as a Tier III sexual offender for the rape conviction; as well as a Tier II sexual offender for 25 years on the other offenses.
His computer was ordered forfeited to the Bowling Green Police for their use, sale or destruction.
He will be subject to five years of mandatory post-release control sanctions following his prison term.
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 January 2013 10:46

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