Texarkana man pleads not guilty to indecency, sexual assault of a child

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A Texarkana man entered pleas of not guilty Monday to charges stemming from the alleged sexual abuse of two girls.

Cedric “Gunsmoke” Cooley, 56, appeared with Bowie County Public Defender Clayton Haas before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell on Monday morning. After Haas entered not guilty pleas to charges of indecency with a child by sexual contact and aggravated sexual assault of a child, Cooley was escorted back to the Bowie County jail.

Bail is set at $200,000.

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According to a probable cause affidavit, a 10-year-old girl’s mother notified authorities after her daughter allegedly told her of abuse by Cooley. The girl was interviewed at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Texarkana on April 27. The girl and her mother were allegedly staying with a friend in a house in Texarkana, Texas, where Cooley was also living. The girl described being touched, groped and assaulted by Cooley.

The girl told a forensic interviewer that Cooley told her that if she told her mother he would punch her in the face. A second girl told a forensic interviewer at the Children’s Advocacy Center that Cooley told her that if she told anyone that he would punch her in the nose.

The second girl is related to the first and was visiting for the night when Cooley allegedly touched her. The second girl reported seeing Cooley touching the first girl while covering her mouth with his hand.

If found guilty of indecency with a child by sexual contact, Cooley faces two to 20 years in prison. If found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child, Cooley faces five to 99 years or life in prison.

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