Jeffrey Douglas Coleman gets two-year prison sentence for online child exploitation
By JAMES SWIFT
Cherokee Judicial Circuit Judge Suzanne H. Smith accepted a recommendation from prosecutors in Bartow Superior Court Monday morning and gave a 15-year sentence to a Cartersville resident who pled guilty to one count of violating Georgia’s Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act.
Under the negotiated plea deal, defendant Jeffrey Douglas Coleman will serve two years of the sentence in confinement and the remainder on probation.
Coleman initially faced six charges, including three counts of criminal attempt to commit aggravated child molestation, one count of enticing a child for indecent purposes and one count of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude.
Prosecutors, however, opted to drop the sex trafficking charge altogether and merge the remaining counts into one count of online child exploitation.
Bartow County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) records indicate Coleman was arrested on Nov. 2, 2018, and was released on a $12,000 property bond two days later. The defendant was arrested again on Dec. 3, 2019, after a felony failure to appear charge.
Cherokee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Whitney Law said Coleman contacted an undercover GBI agent concerning an online escort ad. He was later arrested at the Walmart shopping center in Cartersville when he attempted to meet the nonexistent escort in-person.
“The defendant was told that the person was 14 years old, he asked if she was the police,” Law told the court. “The defendant continued to chat with the undercover agent, she asked if they were doing sex and oral — the defendant said ‘Yes, both, how much?’”
Coleman will receive credit for time served. As part of the negotiated plea sentence, he is also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and adhere to special sex offender probation conditions.
“You shall not have any contact with any minors, either directly or indirectly,” Judge Smith told the defendant.
Public defender Matthew Hoskins indicated the defendant has until “the last day of the term of the court after the emergency order ends” to withdraw the guilty plea. Coleman also has up to four years after the end of the statewide judicial emergency order to file a habeas corpus lawsuit.
Due to the nature of the crimes, Coleman is not eligible for Georgia’s First Offender Act, a provision that allows some offenders to petition a court to expunge their criminal convictions after completion of a sentence.
“Even if it was eligible, I wouldn’t allow it in this case,” Smith said.