A city man accused of drugging, imprisoning and raping a woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to a 23-count indictment in Cortland County Court -- the second time in 15 years the man pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful imprisonment.
Raymond C. Cole Jr., 58, of 13 Brown Ave. pleaded not guilty to the myriad charges, which include: three counts of first-degree rape, six counts of second-degree assault, five counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, four counts of first-degree unlawful imprisonment and five-counts of second-degree unlawful imprisonment. District Attorney Pat Perfetti confirmed Friday Cole pled guilty.
Thursday was not the first time Cole appeared before a County judge on charges of kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and assault.
Cole was indicted on Nov. 19, 2004 for second-degree kidnapping, first-degree unlawful imprisonment, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, felonies, as well as third-degree assault and second-degree menacing, misdemeanors, according to court documents. In that case, Cole was convicted in 2005 of third-degree assault and sentenced to a year in jail, the documents note.
Perfetti said it was unclear at this stage in Cole’s current case to know if Cole’s prior charges and conviction will come out at trial.
“I can’t say at this point,” Perfetti said. “We’re at the very beginning of this case as an indicted felony.”
The 2004 case can only be mentioned at trial if the prosecution submits an application to include it and the County judge approves it.
Cole’s defense attorney, Luke Fenchel, declined to comment Friday.
Cole was arrested June 3 for drugging a 34-year-old woman, keeping her in a cupboard over Memorial Day weekend in his basement and raping her, according to city police and City Court testimony. Officers responded to his home after receiving a tip Cole was imprisoning and raping a woman and was on the scene when a 34-year-old woman stumbled out of the back of the house, under the influence of drugs, and told officers she was held against her will, drugged and raped, according to police.
Cole was arrested and charged with first-degree rape, first-degree unlawful imprisonment, second-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, all felonies. Police also charged Cole with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor levied against a person found to have a small amount of drugs.
The Cortland County Grand Jury did not indict Cole for drug possession, but did find Cole administered drugs to a woman, without her consent, that are “capable of producing stupor, unconsciousness, other physical impairment or injury,” according to the indictment.
Indictment from 2004
The 2004 Cortland County Grand Jury, which determined whether or not to charge Cole, concluded he abducted a woman on Sept. 25, according to that indictment. The jury also charged Cole with imprisoning her, threatening her with a knife and beating her by throwing her to the ground, punching and kicking her, and breaking her rib and hand.
Cole grabbed the woman by her hair and clothing about 2 a.m. at 8 Union St., according to a felony complaint signed by then-Sargeant William D. Carpenter. Carpenter, who retired after 21 years as a city police officer, is the fifth-ward City Council Alderman and a Cornell University Campus Police Officer.
Cole threatened to kill the woman and dragged her about 100 yards to an apartment at 181 Main Street, then yanked her inside, according to Carpenter’s felony complaints. He pointed an 8-inch steak knife at her, held it against her throat when she tried to escape and threatened to kill her if she tried again, according to the complaints. Cole held the woman against her will for nine hours in the locked apartment, Carpenter writes.
Carpenter said in a phone interview Friday the two incidents Cole was indicted in are “definitely similar in nature.”
“I can’t believe he’s gotten away with all this stuff before,” Carpenter said. “That’s what’s sad.”
Carpenter said he dealt repeatedly with Cole throughout his city police career, adding it’s not coincidence Cole is facing the same charges 15 years after his 2004 indictment.
“Here we are again,” he said. “Who knows how many people he’s been victimizing since 2004 to 2019.”
Investigations like the one in 2004 require hours of work and it is discouraging to officers when only one charge makes it through the court process to sentencing, Carpenter noted.
Carpenter called on the District Attorney’s Office not to make a plea deal with Cole, but to seek “strict action” against him.
“Police make arrests,” Carpenter said. “We need the prosecution to follow through.”