The prosecutor in the sexual assault case against a former Wheeling police officer says justice was served.
Special Prosecutor David Cross tells MetroNews the plea agreement signed earlier this week that had Matthew Kotson resigning as an officer and pleading no contest to two counts of harassment was the best resolution of the charges.
Kotson was originally charged with committing sex crimes against four women. He was arrested a few days after Thanksgiving Day 2011 when one of the assaults was alleged to have occurred.
In the months ahead the cases against Kotson began to break down with uncooperative witnesses and a jury that acquitted him on one charge and could not decide on another.
There were two cases remaining and the prosecution and defense arrived at the misdemeanor plea deal that was finalized earlier this week.
Special prosecutor Cross says the nature of the alleged crimes made the cases against Kotson difficult from the start.
“It’s subjective evidence to some extent and there were other factors too that were unique to the case that make it somewhat more difficult than other ones,” Cross said. “When you have relationships between people that affects how relationships are perceived.”
Kotson has been sentenced to one-year probation. He’s agreed to drop his wrongful termination lawsuit against the City of Wheeling and never be a police officer again. Prosecutor Cross says that’s a key part of the plea deal.
“That’s something I was really interested in,” Cross said. “Anytime you have someone in the (law enforcement) community that is alleged to have committed certain crimes it’s hard on everybody. There’s nothing that both of us who work in the prosecutor’s office or police dislike more than that type of circumstance.”
Cross says he doesn’t know how Kotson will behave during his one-year probation. He says there haven’t been any problems since his arrest in late 2011.
“Hopefully he can continue to be a productive member of society and never get into any kind of problems again,” the prosecutor said.