Child molester gets life in prison

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James Paul Cottle was convicted of the continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14. (Booking photo courtesy Denton County Sheriff’s Office)

James Cottle, 77, of Lewisville was sentenced to spend the remainder of his life in prison after being convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child. Judge Brody Shanklin handed down the sentence Aug. 23.

Assistant District Attorney Rick Daniel said that the victim of Cottle’s crime was molested from the ages of 6 to 13. The case was investigated by Lewisville Police Department when the child later informed a parent.

Two days into his trial, after the victim testified, Cottle changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. But according to Daniel, the plea was not part of a bargain.

“He was 77 years old, and the minimum punishment for the offense was 25 years, so he wasn’t going to make it out of prison no matter what happened,” Daniel said. “[His] attorney said he just was remorseful about what he did. He may have wanted to see if we were going to actually go through with it and [the victim] was actually going to testify against him.”

Cottle will begin his sentence with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice at Huntsville but as of Thursday was still held in Denton County Jail.

Because of the nature of the crime and that the victim was a child at the time of the molestation, The Lewisville Texan Journal is not publishing any identifying information.

Daniel said that he believed there was another victim that chose not to come forward in this case.

A statement released by the Denton County District Attorney’s office thanked those involved in the prosecution:

Assistant district attorneys Rick Daniel and Jesse Eyer presented evidence and argument for the State of Texas. Detective Rick Crociata of the Lewisville PD did an excellent job investigating this heinous crime. Our office will continue to work relentlessly prosecuting and bringing to justice those who prey on young children.

Daniel also credited Children’s Advocacy Center and Child Protective Services. “Everybody worked together to do a really good investigation,” Daniel said.

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