Former Huntington Teacher/Track Coach Charged With Sexual Battery

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

Credit: Justin Shockey

Huntington Herald Press

November 15, 2013 Updated Nov 15, 2013 at 6:24 PM EDT

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (21Alive) -- According to the Huntington County Prosecuting Attorney, Donald Cotton, has been charged with sexual battery, a class D felony, and two counts of battery, a class B misdemeanor.

A warrant has been issued for Cotton and bond is set in the amount of $10,000.

According to court documents, a woman reported that she met Cotton in the Huntington North H.S. parking lot and sat with him inside of his vehicle. The woman said he gave her a hug and said he "wished" to kiss her. She says she told Cotton "no" and he advanced and she turned her head and he kissed her on the cheek.

The woman said he rubbed her arm and commented on how soft they were, then asked if she shaved her legs and if they were as soft, and then began rubbing her leg. She said she needed to leave and when Cotton hugged her he began rubbing one of her breasts with his hand and nuzzled her neck and kissed her on the cheek and neck. He then tried to guide her hand to his privates and when his cell phone rang she got out of the car.

On August 30th, Cotton told Huntington Police that he asked her to kiss him and she said no and that when she was getting ready to leave, he gave her a hug and touched her breast. According to court documents Cotton described it as "it's just one of those things; it happened. I didn't control myself for a few seconds." Cotton denied trying to put her hand on his privates but admitted that he could understand how she saw it as that as he was trying to answer his phone.

On Sept. 9th a second woman told police about a time when she was running at cross country practice and Cotton touched her. She said she stopped running and bent over to catch her breath and Cotton approached her from behind and started rubbing her lower back with his hand and pressed his privates against her bottom. She told police that she reported feeling uncomfortable to the Principal and Athletic Director soon after the incident.

The second woman said that Cotton asked her to come into the coach's office and apologized to the second woman if he made her feel uncomfortable and said "you have to realize, in the mirror I'm an old man, but inside I'm still a young boy".

Police spoke with Cotton about the second incident on Oct. 10 and Cotton confirmed that he was the cross country coach at the time and the woman was a student athlete. He told police he remembered the incident and that he was attempting to help her and lift her arms above her head because he thought she was hyperventilating. He told police he didn't intend to press his privates against her but may have inadvertently done this when trying to help.

Don Cotton resigned August 30. He's been a coach for the district for 44 years. He is also a retired teacher from the district.

According to the superintendent, an incident happened on school grounds August 29. It was in early September when the district issued a no trespass order against Cotton.

Earlier this year, he was honored by the state when he was inducted into the Indiana Track and Cross Country Hall of Fame.

After retiring as a public school teacher he taught at Huntington University. He also recently left his job as an adjunct professor there.

The dean of academic affairs says he left the university about a month ago, just after classes started, and cited personal reasons.

The Huntington County Community Schools Corporation superintendent wouldn't explain the exact details of what happened August 30. He did say the district conducted an internal investigation, and as a resolution to the matter it was decided to keep the no trespass order in place.

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