Ex-coach, sex-offender fails to register

Don Cotton's mugshot (Courtesy: Huntington County Jail)

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) – The Huntington County Probation Department filed a petition with the courts Tuesday to have the terms of Don Cotton’s probation revoked.  Cotton, former Huntington North High School teacher and track coach, pleaded guilty to sexual battery in December.  The Huntington County Probation Department claims Cotton never filed as a sex-offender within a week of his sentencing.

Cotton has since registered.  In fact, he did so on the same day the petition was filed.

Cotton will go back to court February 3rd at 9:30 a.m. and essentially have to go through the entire court process again.

The judge has the ability to impose another punishment or leave his sentence as it is.  Cotton was previously sentenced to three and a half years of probation.  Cotton had been charged with sexual battery, a class D felony, and two misdemeanor charges of battery.   He pleaded guilty to all three in December.

Huntington County Prosecutor Amy Richison had asked for one year of Cotton’s sentence to be served in jail with two and a half years of probation but the judge opted not to put him behind bars. Cotton will be monitored electronically for one year.

Cotton was accused of inappropriately touching a woman in his car in the parking lot of Huntington North High. According to the probable cause, a woman said she met with Cotton in the Huntington North High School parking lot on August 29, 2013. She claimed Cotton tried to kiss her and then began rubbing her leg. He also tried to push the woman’s hand towards his penis. The woman said she left the vehicle when Cotton got out of the car to answer his phone.

Two other women also testified at the sentencing. According to Richison, they were called to establish a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Don Cotton. One testified that Cotton had been inappropriate with her in 1995. The second woman said he touched her inappropriately in 2004. He was only charged for the 2013 incident in the high school parking lot.

Cotton had been the HNHS girls’ track and cross country coach since 1984. He was inducted into the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame in February of 2012. Cotton retired from teaching in 2007.

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