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Courts

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Ex-Huntington coach admits sexual battery

Cotton

Former Huntington North track and cross country coach Donald Cotton pleaded guilty Monday in Huntington Circuit Court, admitting a felony charge of sexual battery.

Cotton, 68, also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of battery.

In exchange for his guilty plea, Huntington County Prosecutor Amy Richison agreed to a cap the executed portion of his sentence at one year, according to court documents.

The plea comes about a month after he was charged in the case, and about three months after he resigned from his position at Huntington County Community Schools.

A woman accused him of inappropriately touching her inside a vehicle in the parking lot of Huntington North High School in late August.

Based on court documents filed Monday, he and the woman had gone to breakfast. When they returned to the parking lot of the high school, he told her he wanted to kiss her. She said no. He then asked her if she shaved her legs and if her legs felt as smooth as her arms.

When the woman tried to leave, he told her he needed her more than her family needed her. Cotton hugged her and rubbed her breasts with his hand and grabbed her hand, trying to push it down toward his genitals, according to court documents.

After she came forward, another woman came to police and said he inappropriately touched her in 2005 when he was her teacher and coach.

In court documents, Cotton admitted to pressing his genitals up against her during a practice. He came up behind her as she was bent over. The athlete stood up and ran away from him. According to court documents, she was 16 or 17 years old at the time.

Cotton will be sentenced in mid-January.

rgreen@jg.net

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