Christopher Coates, who for some time worked at the Independent as a delivery person, was sentenced to 270 days in county jail and three years of supervised felony probation for sexually assaulting a special needs client at a caretaker where Coates was employed. He will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Coates was sentenced Friday for sexual battery against a seriously disabled adult. In addition to his sentence, Coates will never be able to work or volunteer in places that work with dependent children, adults, or elders. He also must undergo a sexual assault risk assessment, and could receive a device which monitors him all the time.

He was originally charged with rape and oral copulation of an incompetent person and a lewd act on a dependent adult, charges that were dropped as part of a plea bargain.

The bargain was made “in the best interests of the victim” after consulting with her family and the management at the home she was staying, according to prosecutor Paula Waldman, who said the victim’s father was “very satisfied and relieved to put this behind them.” “It’s a very sad case that someone in that position took advantage in such a personal and private way,” she said. Coates’s defense attorney had no comment on the case.

Coates was on the clock when the alleged misconduct occurred on June 13, 2009. All of the charges stem from an interaction on that particular day. A few days after the incident the victim reported the matter to someone else who worked at the center. An investigation ensued, and Coates was arrested on July 29, 2009, though at the time he was no longer employed at the facility.

Coates was hired by this paper as a delivery driver in January 2009. He’s no longer working at the paper because he abandoned his position recently, and the Independent subsequently terminated him because of that.


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