In Waco this afternoon, United States District Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr., sentenced 27-year-old Jerome
Maurice Cole of Killeen, TX, to 40 years in federal prison for sex trafficking of children announced United
States Attorney Robert Pitman and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Smith ordered that Cole pay a $5,000 fine and be placed under supervised release for a period of ten years after completing his prison term.
“Trafficking children in the sex trade is an unspeakable crime. We will pursue and vigorously prosecute those who engage in such outrageous conduct to the fullest extent of the law,” stated United States Attorney Pitman.
On November 29, 2012, Cole pleaded guilty to the charge. By pleading guilty, Cole admitted that he operated a prostitution venture from November 2011 until August 2012 involving minor females utilizing various technologies, including a personal computer, multiple cell phones, the Internet, and the website Backpage.com, to photograph, post prostitution advertisements, recruit new girls, and communicate with purchasers. On May 15, 2012, officers with the Killeen Police Department responded to a call that a 16-year-old runaway was frightened to leave Cole's residence and needed assistance in escaping. Killeen Police Department rescued the minor from Cole's residence and requested an investigation from the Office of the Texas Attorney General's human trafficking unit. During the course of the investigation, authorities identified another 16-year-old minor as being sexually trafficked by Cole, as well as a third minor who was being actively recruited by Cole.
Cole has remained in custody since his arrest on August 15, 2012, when he arrived at an agreed upon location in Killeen to pick-up the third minor.
This case was investigated by the Office of the Texas Attorney General and the Killeen Police Department with assistance from the United States Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorney Mary Kucera and Special Assistant United States Attorney/Assistant Attorney General Geoff Barr prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.