Former Mid sentenced to 90 days in jail Jeremy Coale had pleaded guilty to child sexual abuse

October 01, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A former Naval Academy midshipman will spend 90 days in the Anne Arundel County jail for sexually abusing the 2-year-old granddaughter of an Annapolis couple with whom he spent weekends.

Jeremy Michael Coale, 20, was sentenced yesterday by Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. He pleaded guilty to child sexual abuse Aug. 12.

Coale, from East Grand Rapids, Mich., could have been sentenced to 15 years.

Assistant State's Attorney Laura Kiessling said that since Coale arrived at the academy in September 1995, he had spent weekends at the Eastport house of a couple volunteering in a program to give midshipmen a home away from home. On March 24, he went into their granddaughter's bedroom about 2 a.m., disrobed her, stared at her for a short time and abused her, Kiessling said.

The child's grandfather saw Coale leaving the room a few minutes later. Coale told him that he had been on his way to the bathroom when he heard the child crying and decided to check on her.

The victim's parents reported the incident after the child told her mother at dinner the next night what had happened.

Coale admitted to Annapolis police that he had sexual contact with the child, court records show. He resigned from the academy after his arrest, said Lt. Scott Allen, an academy spokesman.

In 1988, Coale was arrested in East Grand Rapids when the parents of a 4-year-old girl filed a complaint accusing him of sexual abuse, according to police records. But Coale, then 12, was never prosecuted and the academy did not learn of it until Annapolis police arrested him in the spring. Coale did not disclose the arrest, as required, on his admission application, according to the academy.

His case came in a year of embarrassing reports of wrongdoing by Naval Academy students, from a car-theft ring to an LSD scandal to sexual assault allegations against a top midshipman.

Patrick Michael Chapman, 25, a one-time leader of the academy's Big Brothers & Big Sisters program, was sentenced in June to four years in prison for exposing himself and sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy in his hometown of Rockwall, Texas.

Pub Date: 10/01/96

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