A San Antonio gymnastics and cheerleading coach has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old student. 33-year-old Robert Thomas Kotara was arrested on Friday, January 10 and is charged with sexual assault of a minor. He has also been charged with burglarizing one of his former workplaces in a separate case.
The alleged victim is now 18 years old. She told police that Kotara was her cheerleading coach since she was 10 and that he first sexually assaulted her when she was 16. According to an affidavit, sexual assaults by Kotara then became "a regular occurrence."
The girl told police that Kotara asked her to run an errand with him and then brought her to a hotel room, where he allegedly gave her alcohol and sexually assaulted her.
Kotara is also accused of asking the victim to babysit his child and then sexually assaulting her at his home while his child was nearby in the same room.
According to the affidavit, another coach who worked at the same gym told police that he witnessed the victim sitting naked on Kotara's lap in his office. This witness showed police a text message from July 2018 which confronted Kotara about what he reportedly saw.
The affidavit does not mention which gym Kotara met the victim through or if the witness contacted police about what he saw.
Attorney contributor Marc Lenahan stands by sex abuse victims and their families and helps them find justice in civil lawsuits. Here is Marc with some general information on the legal rights of those who have been sexually abused by youth sports coaches:
In youth sports and all other fields that involve working with children, preventative measures must be taken to ensure that the children participating in the program are safe from sexual predators. Sadly, these predators often seek out positions in fields that involve working with kids. When a child is sexually abused by a youth sports coach, it's important that the victim and their family are aware of their legal rights.
These predators should be reported to law enforcement before they can continue committing heinous crimes against children. Additionally, the youth sports organization should be investigated for possible negligence. Some of these cases are preventable and only happen because of negligence, such as failing to run background checks.
In cases that involve negligence by the youth sports organization or facility where the abuse happened, the victim and their family could have a case for a lawsuit.
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse in youth sports, you can learn more about your legal rights in a free consultation with one of our dedicated sex abuse victims lawyers.