New charges filed in Cortland rape and imprisonment case

The Cortland County Courthouse (nycourts.gov)

A city man accused of raping and imprisoning a woman was levied with two additional felonies at his arraignment Thursday in City Court, while both the victim and a material witness in the case were arrested on warrants, according to city police.

Raymond C. Cole Jr., 58, was additionally charged with second-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon this morning in City Court, according to the department. Cole was arrested Monday for first-degree rape and first-degree unlawful imprisonment, felonies, after a woman emerged from the basement of his 13 Brown Ave. home and told police outside the residence that Cole held her against her will, coerced her to take drugs and raped her repeatedly for a number of days, said Lt. Michael Strangeway on Tuesday.

The new charges issued Thursday stem from Cole’s use of a hypodermic needle to unwillingly inject the woman, making the needle a weapon and the puncture an assault, Strangeway said.

Police were sent to the residence about 12:45 p.m after an unnamed caller told officers she heard a rumour that a woman was being held there against her will and forced to use drugs.

Once officers arrived, Cole argued with them on his porch and refused to allow them to search the home, according to the department. Officers remained in the area, trying to talk to neighbors and continuing to investigate the tip, Strangeway said.

“They were conducting an investigation in hopes of confirming or disproving the allegation that Mr. Cole was holding women in his house against their will,” he said. “During their investigation officers encountered a 33-year-old woman at a neighboring house who had an active bench warrant for her arrest.”

The woman, whose name is being withheld by police as she is a material witness in the case, told officers as she was being arrested and that Cole imprisoned a woman next door and forcefully drugs and rapes her.

“As officers were placing the 33-year-old in the back of the patrol car, the woman began making statements in regard to Raymond Cole having other women kept in the basement of his apartment,” Strangeway said. According to the woman’s police statement, she said, “Cole keeps in the basement, injects her with drugs then forces her to have sex with him.”

While police were on the scene, a 34-year-old woman emerged from the basement of Cole’s residence through a back door and told an officer Cole had imprisoned, drugged and raped her repeatedly for several days, according to the department.

The woman was taken to Guthrie Cortland Medical Center for treatment and was also arrested as there was an active warrant for her arrest, Strangeway said.

After she was first hospitalized Monday, the woman was transferred to the intensive care unit at the hospital Tuesday, Strangeway said.

“She is stable and responding positively to treatment,” Strangeway said of her condition Thursday afternoon.

Strangeway did not release the charges the active warrants levied against the woman stemmed from, citing department policy of not releasing criminal histories.

Cole was sent to jail without bail and is set to reappear at 10 a.m. Monday in City Court for a felony hearing.