Robert Cota, 32, was charged with 600 counts of sexual battery and 600 counts of incest in November 2021. His bond was set at $3 million. He is set to be in court for his plea day hearing on Dec. 20, 2022, at 9 a.m., according to court documents.
According to an arrest report, Cota attended his church’s new members’ event and asked the pastor to speak with him at the end. The pastor told investigators that the conversation was about the church’s guideline book pertaining to marriage, gender and sexual conduct. The pastor said Cota told him he had an issue with one of the beliefs in the book and pointed to the word “incest.”
According to the pastor, he told Cota what he was doing was wrong and he needed to turn himself in to the authorities. The pastor provided the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office with a sheet that had Cota’s address and phone number that Cota had filled out at the event.
Deputies said they spoke with the victim, who said she had been “having sex” with Cota since she was seven years old. She told deputies that she estimated it happened over 600 times over the many years. The victim’s mother said she caught Cota in bed with the victim in September 2021 and confronted him. According to the mom, Cota would “shut down and not answer any questions.”
Cota told deputies he never physically abused the victim. Deputies said in the arrest report Cota would not make eye contact with them while he was being questioned and he started every answer with “I don’t know, no.”
Cota’s jury trial is set to begin on Jan. 9, 2023.