Prosecutors charged Robert Cota, 31, of Pensacola, with 600 counts of sexual assault of a victim between the ages of 12 and 18, and more than 600 counts of incest that allegedly occurred over the past six years.
Florida man charged with 1,200 counts of sexual assault of a minor
Cota was arrested after a local pastor alerted officers to his unusual behavior. The pastor claims Cota approached him on Sunday and complained about “one of the beliefs” in the church’s book of guidelines. Cota allegedly pointed out the word “incest.”
The pastor told the news station that he continued talking to Cota and eventually recommended that he turn himself in to the police.
According to the pastor, he told Cota that “what he was doing was not right and that he needed to report himself to the authorities.”
After the conversation, the pastor provided Cota’s information to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
The church photographs all prospective members and collects their contact information. The pastor provided that information to the police.
According to police records, investigators spoke with the victim, who assured them that she had been having sexual encounters with Cota since she was seven years old, and that the encounters had been going on for about three years.
The girl told police that Cota had justified the acts by saying it was a way to show affection.
The girl’s age does not appear in the arrest reports.
Cota’s allegedly abusive relationship with the victim has gotten him in trouble in the past.
In September 2020, Cota was arrested for aggravated assault and domestic violence after pointing a gun at the victim.
The threat was a response to the victim’s mother, who had confronted Cota about the sexual abuse. Following the incident, police began investigating Cota’s alleged incestuous relationship with the victim.
Police stated that both Cota and the victim discussed the sexual relationship with the mother, but later recanted their statements. However, Cota told officers that he was “not surprised” to be charged with incest.