- Marty Decole “Cole” Wagner, 32, the former chairman of the Alliance for a Pro-Life Alabama, was indicted on charges of child sex-abuse.
- The alleged abuse involved a child under 12, a Class B felony in Alabama, carrying a prison sentence of two to 20 years and a potential fine up to $30,000.
- Wagner has since been dismissed from his position in government relations at the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE).
- Wagner was released on a $60,000 bond; it remains unclear if he has obtained legal representation.
- His past role at ALSDE involved working with Republican lawmakers and conservative organizations on fundraising and sponsorship initiatives.
Charges and Consequences
Marty Decole “Cole” Wagner, a former chairperson of an anti-abortion group, and an employee of the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), was indicted on charges of child sex-abuse. The indictment came on June 30th after Wagner was arrested by Montgomery authorities. According to the Alabama Political Reporter, Wagner is accused of inflicting “sexual contact” on a child under the age of 12. In Alabama, sexual abuse of a child under this age is classified as a Class B felony and carries severe penalties, including a prison sentence of between two and 20 years and a potential fine of up to $30,000.
Following the allegations, Wagner was promptly dismissed from his position in government relations at ALSDE, marking an abrupt end to his brief tenure. “The allegations against Mr. Wagner are serious, tragic and shocking,” the department stated, highlighting the gravity of the situation. “While he was employed by our department for only a few months, Mr. Wagner has been terminated effective immediately.” Investigations into the matter are ongoing, with further details being withheld at this time.
Wagner managed to secure his release through a $60,000 bond, although it remains uncertain whether he has legal representation to speak on his behalf. Attempts to reach him for comment via his LinkedIn page have so far proved fruitless.
Chairman of Anti-Abortion Group
Prior to his arrest, Wagner was a known figure in Alabama’s anti-abortion scene. As the chair of the Alliance for a Pro-Life Alabama, he was instrumental in supporting a constitutional amendment that sought to declare no right to abortion within the state. During his tenure at the ALSDE, his responsibilities encompassed liaising with Republican lawmakers and conservative organizations, primarily focusing on fundraising and sponsorship efforts.
In 2018, Wagner affirmed his commitment to the “pro-life” committee’s cause, emphasizing its role in providing accurate information to voters about the constitutional amendment while countering any misleading information circulated by pro-abortion groups. However, the recent allegations cast a long, dark shadow over his past assertions and professional conduct.
Immediate Consequences: Job Loss
As news of the scandal unfolded, Wagner’s LinkedIn profile saw an update, now stating his availability for work. Until recently, he held his position at ALSDE from February to July 2023. A photograph of him shaking hands with Eric Mackey, the Alabama state superintendent, taken to announce his new role just six months ago, now serves as a stark reminder of his swift descent.
Previously, from 2018 to 2019, Wagner had served as the executive director of the Alliance for a Pro-Life Alabama. His work history also lists roles with the Alabama lieutenant governor’s office and at Cygnal, a polling firm.
As the case unfolds, the consequences of Wagner’s actions will undoubtedly affect not just his professional life, but the organizations and causes he has represented over the years.
- Newsweek: Read more here