ATTLEBORO — A 49-year-old North Attleboro man was arraigned today on charges he allegedly punched and threatened an 18-year-old woman with mental disabilities into dropping sexual assault allegations she made against his nephew.

Joseph W. Coggeshall, of 761 Allen Ave., was ordered held in jail on $25,000 cash bail after pleading innocent in Attleboro District Court to intimidation of a witness, assault and battery on a disabled person and uttering threats.

Coggeshall repeatedly shook his head “no” as a prosecutor read the details of the allegations from a police report. At one point, the defendant glared at her and at the police prosecutors’ table and mouthed “I didn’t do this.”

His lawyer, Jennifer Gonzalez of Brockton, said Coggeshall, a truck driver for Dunkin Donuts, was in New York making a delivery at the time and that the girl was fabricating the incident. She said the girl made similar allegations against another man.

“Her actions suggest that this was fabricated. He adamantly denies the charges,” Gonzalez said.

However, Assistant District Attorney Melissa Tafe read from several text messages she said were from the defendant to the girl in which he allegedly threatened to kill her unless she dropped the charges against his nephew.

“I’ll do anything to protect my family,” Tafe read from one text.

Coggeshall’s nephew, 20-year-old Jeremy DeCosta, was charged with sexual assault charges in October and was placed on home confinement in February after approaching the girl, resulting in intimidation charges against him.

Coggeshall is accused of punching and pushing the girl on May 7, giving the girl a black left eye, as she was walking on Park Street, according to court records.

He was arrested Wednesday after an investigation by Detective Matthew Cook.

Tafe recommended $75,000 cash bail, arguing the girl’s safety was at risk and that it was one of the most serious cases of witness intimidation she has ever seen.

If Coggeshall posts the bail, Clifford ordered him to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet. She also ordered him to stay away from the girl and any other witnesses in the case.

He is due back in court May 28.

DAVID LINTON can be reached at 508-236-0338 or at dlinton@thesunchronicle.com.

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