Florida man charged with 1,200 counts of sexual assault of a minor
A Florida man has been charged with 1,200 counts of sexual assault and incest involving a minor.
Prosecutors charged Robert Cotta, 31, of Pensacola, with 600 counts of sexually assaulting a victim between the ages of 12 and 18, and more than 600 counts of incest that allegedly occurred over the past six years.
According to WEAR-TV, Mr Kota was arrested after a local pastor reported his unusual behavior to MPs. The pastor claims that Mr. Cotta approached him on Sunday and complained about a “belief” in the church’s guideline book. Mr. Kota is alleged to have referred to the word “incest”.
The priest told the news station that he continued to speak with Mr Kota, eventually recommending that he turn himself in to the police. According to the priest, he told Mr. Kota “what he was doing was not right and he needed to report to the authorities himself”.
After the conversation, the Reverend provided Mr. Cotta’s information to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. The church photographs all potential members and collects their contact information. The pastor provided these details to the police.
According to police records, investigators spoke with the victim, who told her that she had been having sexual encounters with Mr. Kota since she was seven years old, and that the encounters had been taking place about three years ago. The girl told the police that Mr Kota justified these actions by saying it was the way people showed affection.
The girl’s age was deleted from the arrest reports.
Mr. Kota’s alleged abusive relationship with the victim had gotten him into trouble before. In September 2020, Mr. Kota was arrested for aggravated assault and domestic violence after he pointed a gun at the victim. The threat was in response to the victim’s mother, who confronted Mr. Kota about the sexual assault. After the incident, the police began investigating the alleged incest relationship of Mr. Kota with the victim.
Police said both Mr Kota and the victim had spoken about their sexual relationship with the mother, but later retracted their statement. Mr Kota told MPs, however, that he was “not surprised” by the incest charge.
Mr. Cotta was booked into Escambia County Jail Sunday night, with his bond set at $3 million.