- Associated Press - Monday, April 21, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from a Rankin County man convicted of molesting three children who were under the age of nine.

The court Monday turned down a request from Joe Earl Cole.

Cole was convicted in February 2012 of sexual battery and gratification of lust in Rankin County and sentenced to 35 years in prison with 10 years suspended.

Authorities say Cole was arrested in 2010 after Pearl police investigated reports that several young girls had been fondled at his home.

On appeal, Cole argued in state court that the trial judge erroneously allowed hearsay testimony and evidence of alleged prior sexual misconduct for which he was not indicted.

The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the conviction and sentence in 2013.

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