A Lebanon man was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison on Wednesday for sex crimes against a girl.
Cody Dean Coulter, 24, pleaded no contest to two counts of first-degree sexual abuse during a hearing in Linn County Circuit Court.
Prosecutor George Eder had asked for consecutive prison terms of more than six years on each of the charges, saying that the crimes occurred during different instances.
“Mr. Coulter had every opportunity, one day to another, to stop himself, to reflect on what he was doing and to not do it again,” Eder said.
Later, he said that there were far more instances than reflected by the charges. “This happened a number of times,” Eder added.
Defense attorney Keith Rohrbough asked for concurrent prison terms, saying that the case came to an unusually swift resolution due to Coulter’s contrition — he was first charged on Feb. 12, just over a month ago.
“Mr. Coulter simply took responsibility,” Rohrbough said. “He feels absolutely devastated about what he did.”
Coulter spoke briefly, his voice breaking with emotion. “I just want to get this done with,” he told Judge Thomas McHill.
McHill noted Coulter’s distress, but he made the sentences on each charge consecutive.
“Certainly, this was a position of trust you had with this little girl. … This makes it even more serious in the court’s eyes,” McHill said.
“The harm that’s caused, I don’t think we can know,” the judge added.
A charge of first-degree sexual penetration was dismissed as part of the plea deal.
The girl is now elementary-school aged, and the crimes took place between 2010 and 2018.
The case came to light because a relative noticed the girl playing with another child in a sexualized manner, Eder said.
The girl, when asked, told the relative about the abuse, saying “that this had been going on for a long time,” Eder added.