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Tampa man accused of sexually assaulting young girl in Pinellas County

The 36-year-old man abused the girl while she was under the age of 12, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

A 36-year-old Tampa man is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl in Pinellas County, authorities said.

Nicholas Cocola was arrested Monday on Pinellas County charges of capital sexual battery on a child under the age of 12 and lewd and lascivious molestation.

The victim was under the age of 12 at the time she was assaulted, deputies said. Her name and relationship with Cocola were not disclosed by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

The child was sexually abused from October to February while under the care of Cocola, deputies said.

The investigation started in February when one of the girl’s relatives reported the allegations.

When detectives spoke to Cocola, they said he denied the allegations. He agreed to provide samples of his DNA, however. Deputies say test results revealed his DNA was found on the victim’s body.

A warrant was issued for Cocola’s arrest, and he was arrested Monday at his Tampa home.

He was being held in the Hillsborough County jail late Monday without bail. He will be transferred to the Pinellas County jail and will stand trial there.