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Officer accused of ‘sexting’ DUI suspect appears in court for his own DUI

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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A suspended East Greenwich police officer accused of “sexting” a woman only hours after he arrested her for drunken driving appeared in court in connection with his own DUI charge.

Scott W. Cole, 30, was arrested by West Warwick police last April for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer and received an alternative sentence from the R.I. Veterans Treatment Court last June. 

If a veteran is accepted by the court, treatment and random drug and alcohol screenings are required for up to a year, with the cases potentially dismissed if they follow the process.

In the brief hearing, Judge Colleen Hastings expressed concerns to Cole.

“There’s been a little bit of a setback but we know you are now compliant,” Judge Hastings said.

The prosecutor also told the court the state was concerned, but he did not elaborate.

Kristy dosReis, a spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office, told Target 12 “we can’t provide additional comment other than what was said in open court.”

Cole left the hearing without comment.

East Greenwich Police Chief Stephen Brown confirmed Cole remains suspended with pay, with the town seeking termination through the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights over a complaint he sent lewd text messages to a woman he arrested.  

The complaint was filed by a 27-year-old, who claimed Cole began “hitting on” her the morning of a DUI arrest, and her attorney Michael Egan alleged the messages included “a solicitation for oral sex only hours after the arrest.”

According to copies of the texts obtained by Target 12, she received a lewd picture later that day.

“I was flabbergasted,” she wrote in her complaint. “He seemed to have all the control and I didn’t want to upset him.”

Egan said he believed East Greenwich wanted Cole to testify in the DUI case to potentially help the town’s termination case, but the two sides reached a plea agreement and Cole never had to take the stand in the misdemeanor case.

She was not fined, and her case was filed for a year. 

In the text string with the woman, Cole also seemed to offer her a legal opinion.

“DUIs are not as bad as they used to be,” one of the texts said. “You can get a hardship license now for work.”

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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