Jackson County

Former banker sentenced to 40 years for exploitation of a child

Claude A. Coleman has been sentenced today to 40 years, 30 of which is to be served day-for-day, on 15 counts of exploitation of a child.

Coleman also must pay a $75,000 fine, Judge Robert Krebs ordered today in Pascagoula.

He pleaded guilty on Jan. 14. Thousands of pictures were found on his computer by Jackson County Sheriff's deputies during a 2009 raid on his house.

Prosecutors recommended 40 years in the state penitentiary, 30 to serve and 10 suspended.

Coleman, 46, still faces touching a child for lustful purposes and sexual battery charges in Jackson, George and Lauderdale counties stemming from charges that Coleman molested children while taking them on trips where he was the only adult chaperone.

The former bank officer was arrested at his home in the Lamotte subdivision of Gautier, where sheriff's investigators seized his computers and other items in the home. The charges came after a two-month investigation into Coleman that was triggered by a call from the mother of an alleged victim.

Read more about this story in Saturday's Sun Herald.