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A man who moved from the Cotulla area to Oakville, Texas, twenty years ago has been sentenced to serve fifty years in prison for the continued sexual abuse of children.
Reports from Live Oak County this week indicate 64-year-old James Lewis Coquat may have continued abusing youths for decades.
Assistant District Attorney Tiffany McWilliams prosecuted the case in which seven victims stepped forward and gave testimony.
The felony case against Coquat was launched after a victim outcry in 2016; McWilliams indicated that investigations revealed Coquat’s persistent abuse of young females and said the state was hoping a conviction would result in a sentence of at least 36 years.
The minimum sentence available to the presiding judge in the sentencing – for which Coquat waived a jury decision – would have been 25 years.
Judge Patrick Flanigan’s order was handed down last month and ensured Coquat is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison, according to the prosecutor.
“The judge’s sentencing more than satisfies the requirement of keeping the community safe,” the assistant district attorney indicated in a statement to the media. “We didn’t want a situation in which he could serve 25 years, get out of prison and possibly endanger children.”
McWilliams added that Coquat is suspected of having sexually abused children for decades. She did not indicate in her media statement how many of those incidents of child sexual abuse occurred while Coquat was living in Cotulla.
“I’m very proud of the victims for speaking out so that this crime would not go unpunished,” the assistant district attorney told the media. “The youngest woman spoke out, and that gave the others the courage to also speak out. This abuse had gone on for decade after decade.”
Coquat is being transferred to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice this month to begin serving his sentence.
(Information for this article was previously published in Live Oak and McMullen counties by The Progress)