Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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April 23, 2014

Cordle gets 10 to 20 years

PRINCETON — A former Concord University police officer was sentenced Tuesday to a term of 10 to 20 years in prison on a single count of sexual abuse by a parent or custodian.

As part of a plea agreement reached with the state, five additional counts were dropped against Randy Keith Cordle, 49, of Athens. Cordle will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope said.

Cordle was arrested in June 2012 and later indicted on one count of third-degree sexual assault and five counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian, according to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John McGinnis.

In an earlier interview, Sgt. M.D. Clemons of the West Virginia State Police Crimes Against Children Unit, said the victim was a family member.

Cordle’s attorney, Ward Morgan, told Swope that his client had never posed a threat to young people in the community and had a low risk of committing other offenses. Cordle also cooperated freely with investigators and gave full statements when the investigation began.

Morgan said Cordle, a veteran of the Navy, helped recover injured and dead sailors from the U.S.S. Stark in 1987 after the ship was hit by missiles fired from an Iraqi aircraft, had post traumatic stress disorder. Cordle complied with the home confinement rules he lived under for two years, Morgan added.

“I’m sorry for anybody I hurt,” Cordle told the court. “If I offended anybody, I’m sorry.”

Swope said the case was “a tragedy across the board” both for Cordle’s family and the family of the victim.

“Here’s my problem,” Swope stated to Cordle. “The problem is you just don’t seem to under that this was not good. It was wrong. The victim in this case had a previous bad experience that you knew about.”

The girl was in Cordle’s care, Swope added.

Cordle will receive 681 days credit for the time he served under home confinement. He will be required to stay under supervised release for 20 years; if he violates the terms of this supervision, he could be returned to prison, Swope said.

Swope required both families to remain seated while a bailiff escorted Cordle from the courtroom; then both families were permitted to leave separately. Members of Cordle’s family declined to comment.

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