Thursday, December 15, 2005
Anytime a convicted child predator views online pornography, the likelihood for him to re-offend increases, Attorney General Abbott said. I am pleased the court has sent a strong message that we are watching him and I thank the Bastrop County District Attorney’s Office and Williamson County Adult Probation Office for their work in holding this man accountable.
The Cyber Crimes Unit arrested Cottingham in October 2003, after he arrived at a retail store in Bastrop where he planned to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex whom he had met in an Internet chat room. The girl was actually an undercover Cyber Crimes Unit investigator. Evidence presented at Tuesday’s hearing revealed that he showed up for the meeting wearing pantyhose and brought several additional pairs of pantyhose, high-powered binoculars, a camera and condoms. At the time of his arrest, Cottingham was employed by a Pflugerville broadband service.
Cottingham is registered as a sex offender with the Texas Department of Public Safety, which maintains a list on its Web site at www.txdps.state.tx.us.
At the Tuesday hearing, Bastrop District Judge Terry Flenniken allowed Cottingham to have a computer at home for his 6-year-old daughter, but its use is monitored remotely by the Bastrop County Adult Supervision Department.
Cracking down on sexual predators is a top priority of Attorney General Abbott’s administration. His Cyber Crimes and Fugitive units have arrested almost 360 sexual predators since he took office in December 2002. The Cyber Crimes Unit has made 69 arrests to date. The Fugitive Unit, which locates convicted child sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children, has arrested more than 250 of these parolees. In addition, the Fugitive Unit has arrested 36 unregistered sex offenders as part of Operation Missing Predator, a statewide initiative launched in April to locate and arrest convicted sex offenders who are not in compliance with sex offender registration requirements.
To find out more about Attorney General Abbott’s efforts to crack down on sexual predators, visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or call (800) 252-8011.