HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — An Alabama man and his girlfriend have been convicted of raping the man’s 11-year-old son because he thought the boy might be gay.
Sean Brandon Cole, 29, and Khadeijah Moore, 21, both of Huntsville, were each convicted Tuesday of rape, sodomy and the sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12, AL.com reported. They each face life in prison, and sentencing is set for May 24.
Moore, who failed to show up for the trial, is considered a fugitive after the trial judge issued a warrant for her arrest Monday at the start of the proceedings.
Tim Douthit, the prosecutor on the case, told AL.com that the sexual assault took place over Thanksgiving 2016, while the boy, who has autism, was in Huntsville visiting his father for the holiday. The child lives in Georgia with his mother.
Cole allegedly found his son in a “compromising position” with another boy and became angry, Douthit said. In response, he made Moore have sex with the boy.
Moore raped and sodomized the boy, and she and Cole made the boy perform sex acts on her, AL.com reported.
"It was solely that he was worried that his son was gay, or might become gay," Douthit said. "There was no evidence he had a sexual attraction to his son or children.
“He just thought he could, for lack of better words, ‘straighten him out.’”
Moore’s defense attorney, Reta McKannan, defended Moore, even as she told AL.com that she understood that the jurors did what they had to do.
"My client did everything at Sean Cole's direction," McKannan said. "That doesn't make it OK. That doesn't make it right."
Madison County Jail records show multiple arrests in Cole's past related to domestic violence. It was not immediately known how many of those arrests resulted in convictions.
Investigators and prosecutors said the boy's mother became suspicious once he returned to Georgia and started asking her questions about sex, AL.com reported. When he told her what Cole and Moore had done, she drove straight to Huntsville to talk to police.
The couple was arrested in January 2017.
Douthit said that when a forensic interviewer asked the boy about the rape, the boy said he thought at the time, “Why is my dad doing this to me?”
"Dad said to tell no one. I failed him. I just told you," the boy told the interviewer, according to AL.com.
Douthit told the news site that the boy, who turned 13 years old the day of his father’s conviction, is doing well.
"The most terrible part of this is the little boy still doesn't understand it's not his fault," Douthit said. "He still thinks he's the bad guy. It's heartbreaking."
Cox Media Group