VALPARAISO, Ind.(STMW) – A Portage, Ind. man maintained his innocence Friday while Porter County Superior Court Judge William Alexa sentenced him to 20 years, the maximum he could get for two counts of child molesting.

The impending sentencing was not enough to keep Kevin K. Cotton, 32, from trying to interrupt and argue with Alexa before Alexa imposed the sentence.

Cotton was found guilty of two of the lesser child molesting charges against him when the jury returned May 4.

Each of those Class C felony charges carried sentences of eight years, and Alexa also imposed the maximum habitual offender enhancement he could, four years.

The judge could have had Cotton serve the sentences together for a total of 12 years, but he didn’t, citing Cotton’s history of 12 arrests with two prior felony convictions, two misdemeanor convictions, numerous failures to comply with probation and more outstanding charges, including a Class D felony failure to register as a sex offender.

“I find that there are no mitigating circumstances here,” Alexa said. “Based on what I’ve seen here and your attitude as well, these will be served consecutively.”

Prior to sentencing, Cotton admitted to his past.

“I made some mistakes; however, this was not one of them,” he said. “My trial lawyer did not engage the witnesses in ways I thought important.”

Cotton was also charged with a third Class C felony child molesting and two Class A child molesting counts.

In his statement to the court, Cotton asked for a new trial and an appeal, saying the prosecution intimidated family members to get them to testify.

The jurors found him guilty of sexual activity with two girls that started when they were 6 years old.

Alexa defended the jurors’ decision and said, “You can tell they really went through the evidence and considered it carefully” as shown by their not finding him guilty on all counts.

Cotton tried to interrupt then, claiming not all evidence was there.

Cotton is next scheduled to appear in court June 20 on the failure to register charge.

Public defender Anthony Bertig said given Cotton’s statements, the court should find another attorney for him.

Cotton asked for a speedy trial on the pending charges and faces other charges in other courts.

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