Rankin man convicted in fondling case

By The Associated Press

BRANDON, Miss. (AP) — A Rankin County man has been convicted of molesting three children.

District Attorney Michael Guest says 61-year-old Joe Earl Cole has been convicted of sexual battery and gratification of lust in Rankin County involving three children who were 7-9 years of age when the crimes occurred.

Guest says Cole was sentenced to 35 years in prison with 10 years suspended. Cole also will be required to register as a sex offender.

Cole was arrested in 2010 after Pearl police investigated reports that several young girls had been fondled at Cole’s home.