Calling the crimes "premeditated and calculated," Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks sentenced Daniel Cole yesterday to 30 years in prison for abducting and sexually assaulting two 12- year-old girls.
Judge Franks said Cole's actions were extremely disturbing, and that items Cole had in his car showed his criminal intentions when he abducted the girls from the parking lot of a West Toledo shopping center.
"You took their innocence," Judge Franks said. "I can't imagine their fear."
Cole, 37, had handcuffs, Duct tape, nylon tie straps, and pornography in his car Oct. 30 when he posed as a security officer to lure the girls from the Miracle Mile Shopping Center.
He bound their feet with the straps and handcuffed them, putting one girl in the trunk and other on the floor of the front seat. He later stopped the car to reverse them.
The girls were taken to a West Toledo neighborhood, where he led one of the girls to a wooded area and sexually assaulted her. He then fondled the other victim while she was in the trunk of the car.
The girls were released at a West Toledo apartment complex, and Cole, who was arrested the next morning at the Maumee home of his father and stepmother, told investigators he couldn't recall his intentions when he took the girls.
However, Judge Franks said she believes the defendant was lying. "The only thing we can be thankful for is that you released these children," she said. "You know the demon inside you."
The victims' mothers and other family members and friends were in the courtroom. The mother of one of the girls read a prepared statement before the sentence was imposed.
The woman, whose name is not being used to protect her family's identity, said her daughter is afraid to leave their home, and the incident has left her emotionally scarred.
"The only thing I am thankful for is my daughter and her best friend came home alive. The things he has done to these girls is unthinkable," she said.
Cole, in a plea agreement, was convicted Feb. 17 on two counts each of kidnapping and gross sexual imposition for the crimes involving the girls. He also was found guilty of kidnapping for an attack on a 55-year-old woman in Old Orchard earlier that day.
Judge Franks imposed maximum consecutive sentences of 10 years for the kidnappings and five years for the sexual assaults on the girls. He received a concurrent 10-year sentence for the kidnapping in Old Orchard. Prosecutors had recommended a 26-year sentence for the crimes.
Lori Olender, an assistant prosecutor, said the plea was negotiated, in part, to spare the victims from testifying at a trial. "For four more years, why make two kids testify," Ms. Olender said, adding that she was thrilled the judge gave Cole maximum sentences.
Cole committed the crimes within six months of being released from a Georgia prison for child molestation. Judge Franks said Cole violated the conditions of his parole by leaving the state because he didn't have the money to pay for a court-ordered program.
"But you came back to Ohio and did this to these two little children," Judge Franks said.
Cole was labeled a child-victim predator, the most serious classification in Ohio for sexual offenders. When he is released from prison, he must register with the county sheriff's office where he resides and the county in which he is employed every 90 days for the rest of his life.
Upon his release from prison, Cole faces going back to Georgia on a burglary charge and could be sentenced to an additional five years for parole violation.
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