WHEELING - Matthew Kotson will face allegations of sexual abuse and assault during four separate trials after Senior Status Judge Arthur Recht on Wednesday said the former Wheeling police officer had the right to face each of his accusers individually.
The January term of the Ohio County grand jury indicted 32-year-old Kotson on four counts of first-degree sexual abuse, three counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of burglary.
Recht granted the defense's motion and scheduled Kotson's first trial on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of for July 17. The other three trial dates have not been set, but the court will address the remaining counts as follows: two counts of second-degree sexual assault; one count of second-degree sexual assault; and one count of burglary and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.
Photo by Tyler Reynard
Senior Status Judge Arthur Recht presides over a pretrial hearing in the case of former Wheeling police officer Matthew Kotson in Ohio County Circuit Court Wednesday.
"This is the fairest way to try this case - absent any commonality in the approach to these women," Recht said.
Because of the extensive media attention the case has attracted, court officials will prepare and mail 50-60 juror questionnaires to expedite the jury selection process.
Some of the alleged crimes date back to 2007, three years after Kotson's career with the Wheeling Police Department began.
The investigation began Nov. 24, when one of the alleged victims told West Virginia State Police that Kotson sexually assaulted her at her home earlier that day. He was placed on leave from the Wheeling Police Department the following day.
During the investigation, all of the several women interviewed reportedly said Kotson was sexually aggressive, with one alleging he forced her to engage in non-consensual sex on three occasions.
State Police arrested Kotson Dec. 1 after he reportedly was seen peering in the window of St. Vincent de Paul Parish School in Elm Grove, where one of the witnesses in the case is employed. He was fired the next day.
Kotson remains free on $100,000 bond while awaiting a June 11 pretrial hearing.