Synagogue Youth Director - Davie, FL
Coleman Federal Correctional Complex - Coleman, FL
In 1997, after boys complained about the conduct of James A. Cohen he was removed from abuse trip by the sponsors, United Synagogue Youth of New York. Cohen admitted he performed a sex act on one boy and fondled three boys over a 10-day period during the bus trip.Three of the boys were asleep at the time and awakened to discover the molestation, authorities said. Cohen tried to convince one of the boys that he had been dreaming, court papers showed.
Cohen admitted that a major reason he took part in the trip was to engage in sexual acts with underage boys.
The assaults took place in Sioux City, IA, and Yellowstone National Park, in addition to Skokie, IL
- Molester gets 9 years for assaulting 4 boys; Judge calls him 'worst nightmare' (07/30/2003)
- Child Predator Sentenced To 9 Years In Prison Federal Judge Calls Defendant 'Parents' Worst Nightmare' (07/30/2003)
- Man gets 9 years for molesting teens on bus trip (07/30/2003)
- Federal Bureau of Prisons (12/12/2006)
- Federal Bureau of Prisons - Locator (01/02/2013)
- Illinois Sex Offender Registry (01/02/2013)
By Matt O'Connor
Chicago Tribune - July 30, 2003
A former counselor for a goodwill cross-country bus trip organized by a Jewish youth group was sentenced to 9 years in prison Tuesday in federal court in Chicago for molesting four underage boys, including one in a Skokie hotel, in 1997.
About 2 1/2 years later, though he was aware that the FBI was investigating his conduct on the bus trip, James A. Cohen molested a fifth boy whose family he had befriended as the youth director of a Florida synagogue, authorities said.
"For a mother, you're the worst nightmare out there," U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said in imposing the sentence on Cohen, 33, of Davie, Fla. Prosecutors had sought the maximum 10-year prison term.
Cohen's lawyer, Kent Carlson, said his client has confronted his "demons," acknowledged for the first time that he was the victim of sexual abuse as a child and asked for treatment.
But Assistant U.S. Atty. Brian Hayes questioned why Cohen hadn't sought treatment in 1997 after boys complained about his conduct and he was removed from the bus trip by the sponsors, United Synagogue Youth of New York.
In pleading guilty in January, Cohen admitted he performed a sex act on one boy and fondled three boys over a 10-day period during the bus trip in the summer of 1997.
Three of the boys were asleep at the time and awakened to discover the molestation, authorities said. Cohen tried to convince one of the boys that he had been dreaming, court papers showed.
The assaults took place in Sioux City, Iowa, and Yellowstone National Park, in addition to Skokie, authorities said.
Cohen admitted that a major reason he took part in the trip was to engage in sexual acts with underage boys.
Cohen also admitted that in late 1999 or early 2000 he molested a 13-year-old Florida boy at his home while staying there after religious services.
The victim has told authorities he attempted suicide, was hospitalized for a time and underwent counseling for 3 1/2 years for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to court papers, one of the boys victimized on the bus trip said he feels less secure and less confident with women because of the abuse.
"I think about it every day," he wrote in a victim-impact statement. "Someone I trusted used me, and that hurts."
Early this year, while free on bail, Cohen fled Florida with $158,000 he stole from his condo association, leaving behind a note for his wife that threatened suicide, authorities said. Four days later, he was arrested in Las Vegas driving a stolen car and armed with a loaded handgun, authorities said.
NBC5 - July 30, 2003
CHICAGO -- A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a man to serve 9 years in prison and called him a parent's "worst nightmare" for molesting teenage boys in a youth group while chaperoning them on a cross-country bus trip.
The sentence imposed on James Cohen, 33, of Davie, Fla., was just a year shy of the maximum penalty.
Cohen originally was facing a penalty range of 78 to 97 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of traveling in interstate with the intention of having unlawful sexual contact with a minor.
But prosecutors filed motions seeking to increase the range to the maximum penalty of 10 years in prison because he molested four boys on the bus trip and a fifth boy after being notified by federal agents that he was being investigated.
U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer agreed to increase the penalty range to one of 87 to 108 months in prison.
When imposing the 108-month sentence, Pallmeyer said, "For somebody who's a mother, you're kind of a worst nightmare that's out there. Whatever temptation you felt, you should have resisted."
Cohen also was ordered to undergo sex offender treatment and not to have unsupervised contact with minors while serving 3 years supervised release. In addition, he must pay $13,000 restitution.
Defense lawyer Kent Carlson said Cohen did not care how long of a sentence the judge imposes. "He wants one thing out of this judge; he wants treatment," Carlson said.
Cohen wanted to break the cycle of abuse, said Carlson, stating that Cohen and his mother were sexually abused when they were younger.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Hayes said Cohen should have gone for help after federal agents began questioning him about allegations that he molested four boys on the bus trip. Instead, Cohen molested a fifth boy while in Florida.
Cohen's $4,500 recognizance bond was revoked after the Nevada Highway Patrol arrested him on Jan. 6, 2003. Officers found him in possession of a loaded Taurus .40-calibur handgun.
He had left a note for his wife in Florida saying he was traveling to Las Vegas to commit suicide, Hayes said. The court had not granted him permission to travel to Nevada.
Cohen told the court on Tuesday that he kept his feelings regarding the sexual abuse he had suffered bottled up. "It's been eating me up inside," he said.
But he said he was cured the day he attempted to commit suicide. He added that he asked God for forgiveness for his actions, and wanted to write to the families of the boys he molested and ask for their forgiveness, too.
After Pallmayer said she was not sure the families would want to hear from the sons' molester, the judge asked the lawyers to work something out.
Cohen admitted in a plea agreement with prosecutors that his motive for chaperoning and supervising a cross-country bus trip for teenagers was so he could engage in unlawful sexual conduct with boys below the age of 18.
A New York City-based Jewish youth group had sponsored the trip, which lasted from June 23 to Aug. 12, 1997. While the group stayed at a Holiday Inn in Skokie on Aug. 10, 1997, Cohen massaged the back of one of four teenage boys inside one of the hotel rooms. After the boys fell asleep, Cohen performed a sex act on the 16-year-old boy whose back he had massaged, the plea said. When the boy awoke, Cohen attempted to convince him that the boy was conducting a sex act on himself while he was sleeping.
Cohen also fondled two 16-year-old boys while they slept in a cabin overnight in Yellowstone National Park on July 30, 1997. Cohen left the cabin after the boys awoke and told him to stop, the plea said.
On Aug. 5, 1997, Cohen attempted to fondle a 16-year-old boy as they were lying on a bed watching television at a hotel in Sioux City, Iowa, the plea said. After several attempts to fondle the boy were rebuffed, Cohen left the room.
Cohen, president of Harvest Condominium Associates, also admitted he defrauded the Regent Bank on Dec. 23, 2002. He issued a $158,000 checks made payable to "Network Associates," which he deposited into an account at SouthTrust Bank in Florida and converted the funds for his personal use. Cohen wrote three checks on the account, one addressed to himself, and the two others were made payable to aliases, the plea said.
BY STEVE WARMBIR
A federal judge called a former counselor who molested teenage boys in a youth group a mother's "worst nightmare," and hit him with a nine-year prison sentence Tuesday.
James A. Cohen, 33, of Davie, Fla., was a group counselor on a cross-country bus trip run by a New York City-based Jewish youth group in 1997 and molested four 16-year-old boys, prosecutors said.
He molested another boy, who was 13, in late 1999 or early 2000, even after he was aware he was under investigation for preying on kids on the bus trip, prosecutors said.
"For somebody who's a mother, you're kind of a worst nightmare," U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said, before sentencing Cohen to a tougher than usual sentence. "The abuse of your situation and their vulnerability is shocking and extremely distressing."
Cohen apologized for what he did to the teens and asked the judge to get him counseling while in prison.
"It's been eating me up inside," Cohen said.
In January this year, Cohen jumped bond on the case, stole $158,000 from the condo association he was president of and took off for Las Vegas.
He left a note behind saying he was going to kill himself.
Cohen was found in Las Vegas a few days later, in a stolen car and wearing a fanny pack with a .40-caliber Taurus handgun, a counterfeit North Miami Beach Auxiliary Police Badge and two Florida driver's licenses in other men's names.
Cohen left behind devastated victims, authorities said.
"Everyone seems to think I should know better," wrote one victim on the bus trip, who Cohen sexually abused in a hotel room in Sioux City, Iowa, when the victim was 16. "Nobody really understands what it's like for a friend to do that to you. . . . One day in the future I might meet a nice girl who I will care for deeply. I know that eventually I will have to tell her about this. I am scared that she will look at me differently because of this."
Another teenage boy who Cohen molested tried to kill himself, was put into a mental health hospital for a time and has been treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to court records.
"If I had not been forced into such a horrific act I would have been able to do much more with my friends, family and career," the boy wrote."Unfortunately, I was put into this experience and now must suffer for the rest of my life."
December 12, 2006
Inmate Information for JAMES A COHEN
Inmate Register Number : 14467-424
Name : JAMES A COHEN
Age : 35
Race : WHITE
Sex : MALE
Projected Release Date : 11/12/2010
Location : COLEMAN LOW FCI, 846 NE 54TH TERRACE, P.O.1029, COLEMAN , FL 33521
Phone Number : (352)689-4000
Jan. 2, 2012
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