Couple sentenced to federal prison for sexually exploiting 5 children

·2 min read

A couple charged with sexually abusing and exploiting five children in their care traveled the country before settling in Monroe County, where they were arrested in 2019 after a police search turned up incriminating evidence at their Springville-area home.

Matthew Cole, 31, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis on Nov. 9 to 41 years in federal prison. He must pay $50,000 restitution to the victims and will be on parole for the rest of his life following release from prison.

Dolores Cole, 41, was sentenced to 15 years behind bars and is to pay $18,000 restitution; she will be supervised for three years after her prison release.

Six children were removed from the home as a result of the investigation, which revealed abuse dating back to 2014.

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The Coles kept the scheme secret for years, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana. They moved from Arizona to Iowa to Texas to Oklahoma and finally to Indiana to avoid child welfare authorities' suspicions of abuse.

"Over the next few years, multiple allegations of abuse were made. To avoid having the children permanently removed from their care and to prevent police or child protection agencies from discovering the sexual abuse, the Coles moved the children to residences in different states," the news release states.

Police in Monroe County uncovered evidence that five of the six children — the oldest was 13 — had been sexually abused and that Matthew Cole created and distributed sexually explicit images of one of the children on social media.

Investigators said both Coles threatened the children, telling them that they should not tell law enforcement officers what was happening, which contributed to prolonged abuse of the children.

“To prey on children in your care and harm them in such a heinous way is reprehensible and beyond comprehension,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent Paul Keenan, who worked on the case.

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Mathew Cole pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport minors across state lines with the intent to engage in a criminal sexual activity, sexual exploitation of a child and witness tampering. Dolores Cole pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to sexual exploitation of a child, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

“The pain and damage inflicted on these children at the hands of adults they trusted is unimaginable,” U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers said. “Those who sexually exploit vulnerable children will be held accountable for their reprehensible actions.”

Contact reporter Laura Lane at, 812-331-4362 or 812-318-5967.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Couple sentenced to federal prison for sexually exploiting children

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