Man charged with 1,200 counts related to sexual assault of a child

Pensacola, Florida: 31-year-old Robert Joel Cota remains in the Escambia County Jail on a $3 million bond after his arrest last Sunday for reportedly sexually assaulting a minor numerous times since 2015.


Cota requested to speak with a pastor during an event for new members stating that he "had issued with one of the beliefs" in the church guideline book. Cota then reportedly pointed to the word "incest."


During the conversation Cota is said to have made reference to an underage girl.


The pastor spoke with Cota and eventually told the man that what he was doing was not right and that he needed to turn himself in to law enforcement.


After the event, the pastor contacted the Escambia County Sheriff's Department and provided them with an address, phone number, and photo that had been recently taken of Cota, in accordance with the church's protocol of processing potential new members.


Officers made contact with the girl and spoke with her. She told investigators that she had been sexually assaulted by Cota beginning when she was approximately 7 years old, and that the assaults had occurred more than 600 times in the previous six years.


Last September the girl's mother found Cota in bed with her child according to WKRG. When she began questioning him, Cota "shut down and [did] not answer any questions." WEAR-TV reports that during that incident Cota became angry and pointed a gun repeatedly at the child. He was arrested for aggravated assault and domestic violence.


Cota has been charged with 600 counts each of sexual battery of a child between the ages of 12 and 18 and incest. Additional charges against him include aggravated child abuse, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and drug possession.


Cota is due in court on December 10, 2020 at 8:30 am on the sexual assault charges, and his court date on the other charges is February 16, 2022.