NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WHAS11) – A Floyd County, Indiana Judge has handed out the maximum sentence requested by the state in the case of a man accused of child molestation.
In late August, a jury found 43-year-old Jerry Coop guilty of giving young girls pills at a sleepover and then molesting them numerous times. Coop received a 120-year sentence on four counts and must serve at least 85 percent of that sentence.
The sentence was handed down in Floyd County Superior Court Monday afternoon after about an hour testimony from the state, a victim who says she was 11-years-old at the time Coop molested her. The girl, now 13-years-old, took the stand during the trial and again at sentencing.
The now teenager, says she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and has even had suicidal thoughts since the molestation. She talked on the stand about trusting Coop and seeing him as a father figure, we learned in court Coop was no stranger to his victims.
“I do not believe you would have stopped what you were doing if you were not caught, you carefully selected your victims and preyed on their innocence,” Judge Susan L. Orth said during his sentencing.
Justin McGill, the father of another victim told the Judge that Coop manipulated his daughter and she now battles depression and anxiety.
When the state gave its testimony, Deputy prosecutor Steve Owen said, “The molesting incidents were not isolated but a regular pattern of perversion, including sexual intercourse, with the use of drugs.”
Coop’s attorney made note of his client’s record which does not include many run-ins with the law, Coop himself asked if he could address the families of the victims, the judge denied that request and Coop did not say anything else.
Judge Orth discussed the emotional damage the victims are facing now and possibly still to come and no longer having a true childhood that should be filled with fun memories.
The Judge agreed with the state and handed down a 120-year sentence.
“I think this was the correct road, particularly in this case. He preyed upon these girls and took advantage of a situation and he should have been something positive. If you think about it, he could have been – instead, he became a nightmare,” Deputy Prosecutor Owen said.
Family members of the young victims rejoiced and cried, and hugged one another tightly and Coop was then escorted out of the courtroom.
“I could not be more proud of this child I have, she is by far one of the most bravest people I ever known and she’s only 13, honestly I was scared through the trial that she wouldn’t be able to make it, it’s been going on a year and a half, this is a year and a half that we have been waiting for this day,” Stephanie Marks, a mother of a victim said.