WEST PITTSTON — Police charged a man jailed at a state prison on a parole violation with repeatedly raping one girl and molesting another.
John Cooke, 36, an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Retreat, Newport Township, was arraigned via telephone conference with District Judge Joseph Carmody on charges of rape of a child, aggravated indecent assault, dissemination of sex material to a minor and indecent assault. Carmody set bail at $125,000.
Cooke remains at the state prison on a parole violation in connection to a nine-to-20-year sentence imposed in June 1999 in Lycoming County for robbery of a vehicle and kidnapping.
Carmody arraigned Cooke via telephone when the video link could not be established between his office and the state prison. Cooke said he wanted to wait until he had an attorney, but Carmody said an attorney is not required at the arraignment, which involves the notification of charges that have been filed, establishing bail and scheduling the preliminary hearing.
According to the criminal complaint:
Police were notified by Luzerne County Children and Youth Services in June 2012 about two girls who might have been sexually assaulted.
One of the girls said Cooke would force her to have sex and would mimic pornography he played on television. She alleged Cooke threatened to harm her if she told anyone, the complaint says.
Police said in the complaint the other girl alleged Cooke pulled down her bathing suit while she was in a pool and molested her.
The girls alleged they were assaulted from January to June of 2009 , the complaint says.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled on April 10.