By MIRANDA ORSO
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The father of a teen who was killed by a gunshot while playing with a friend June 5 has been charged with raping a 14-year-old girl.
Louis E. Cota, 36, of Plattsburgh was taken into custody Wednesday after Chazy-based State Police said he was caught leaving the teenager’s home at about 6:40 a.m.
Investigator George Dyer said Cota was involved in a sexual relationship with the teen for “three or four months” and would visit her at home in the mornings before she left for school and after the girl’s father left for work.
Dyer said Cota was initially charged with second-degree criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor. Police said that after they learned of his sexual relationship with the teen, he was also charged with second-degree rape, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
“He entered the house without permission after having been told not to be there,” Dyer added.
He noted that, under New York state law, people under the age of 17 can’t legally consent to sex.
Cota was arraigned in the Champlain Town Court, where bail was set at $10,000 cash and $20,000 bond, before being transferred to Clinton County Jail.
Cota made headlines after his son, Gary Edward Cota, 12, died from a single gunshot wound to the face when a 12-gauge shotgun went off while the boy was playing with a 13-year-old friend in his bedroom at the home in Fort Edward where the family was living at the time.
After the shooting, Mr. Cota was adamant about finding out “what really happened” that night in his son’s room, calling on police to conduct a thorough investigation and file charges, if necessary, against his son’s friend.
“Whatever comes out of it, I will understand. You can only charge someone with what you can prove,” he told the Press-Republican in August.
The shooting case remains under investigation, and no charges have been filed.
Email Miranda Orso: