Day 1 in Jackson Center Police Chief trial complete

Joseph Cotterman
Joseph Cotterman

SIDNEY, Ohio (WDTN) – On the first day of Jackson Center’s Police Chief Joseph Cotterman’s jury trial, the victim in the alleged assault took the stand.

Cotterman is charged with one count of gross sexual imposition. He is accused of having sexual contact with a 19-year-old female, according to our partners at the Sidney Daily News.

Joseph E. Cotterman, 35, of Jackson Center
Joseph E. Cotterman, 35, of Jackson Center

A group of nearly 50 potential jurors were whittled down to 14 and one alternate. Once the jurors were selected, and instructions were given to them by Shelby County Common Pleas Court Judge James Stevenson, the prosecution and defense gave opening statements, then questioned the victim.

Shelby County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Sell spoke about the events of the day the alleged gross sexual imposition act happened, according to the Sidney Daily News.

He gave details about how the victim called Cotterman to help her with some legal matters. Cotterman offered to take her to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, and then on way back to Jackson Center from Sidney they stopped by his home, according to court testimony. That’s where he allegedly invited her inside and forcibly kissed her and put his hands down the front and back of her pants.

Cotterman was reportedly called to the victim’s home two weeks prior because she was contemplating suicide, Sell said in court. Sell attempted to establish the victim’s trust of Cotterman as a police officer — it being one of the reasons she was with him on the day of the assault.

The defense attempted to discredit the victim by pointing to prior mental health issues she had dealt with, including the incident where she first met Cotterman. Defense attorney Jeremy Tomb questioned said the reported timeline of incidents, saying it would  have been difficult for all of the reported movements to happen in the victim’s stated timeframe, according to the Sidney Daily News.

2 NEWS will have updates on this case as details unfold. Our partners at the Sidney Daily News are also following this case. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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