HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A man accused of abusing most of his adopted sons appeared in court on Friday, after nearly a dozen new charges were brought against him in the last 24 hours.
"This was a household of boys that were extremely abused and neglected, groomed. They were threatened. They were in fear of their safety, and he utilized a grooming of the community," said Harris County District Attorney's Office prosecutor Janna Oswald of Hayim Cohen's alleged abuse. "His grooming was not just of a child, but also the people around the children in the most offensive way."
Earlier this month, Cohen, 38, was charged with sexually assaulting his 17-year-old son.
Now, ABC13 is told five more sons have come forward saying they, too, were sexually abused. According to court paperwork, the 17-year-old says the abuse started when he was 11, including that Cohen made the brothers preform sex acts on him and each other.
The teen called into a podcast to talk about what happened and that started the investigation. He told the host that CPS had come to their house eight times, but after each visit Cohen would bribe the brothers or scare them. CPS says the boys have been removed from the house and can't comment on their cases.
In 2019, Cohen was charged with indecency with a child when a foreign exchange student from Spain lived with the family and said he too was sexually abused.
Court records also say the teen says everything Cohen does is fake, including using a wheelchair, which is how we've seen him in court.
The allegations are an alarming contrast to the picture of a perfect family that Cohen tried to paint on social media as a single father raising nine adopted sons.
In the last 24 hours, eight new charges were brought against Cohen, said Oswald, adding that there are seven complainants in total.
Because of the new charges, it now must be determined what kind of hearings need to be held next. For example, Oswald said a number of the charges require an "11B hearing," meaning that while Cohen was out on bond on the indecency with a child charge, he committed the other offenses.
According to Oswald, Cohen used things like religion and his blog to mask what was happening.
"That mask, along with the children's inability to find their voice yet, allowed the abuse to go on for a long time," Oswald explained.
Cohen's defense attorney Charles Johnson said that with the 11B hearing, prosecutors will try to present evidence that Cohen violated his original bond and that he should be held at no bond.
Oswald added that the state has requested no bond on the most recent charges and what she described as a high bond on the other cases. She also doesn't plan to have the children testify in the 11B hearing.
"My goal as a prosecutor is to do the least amount of harm to any children/young adults that have been abused, and a lot of times, that means keeping them off the stand and doing right by them in their journey for them to be able to heal," Oswald said. "I think the extent of the neglect and abuse and the fear that these boys endured is incredibly poignant."
"The fact that he was so close to being able to be safe that we were trying to figure out how we were going to revoke him and bring him in and bring charges against him because obviously all of us knew there was something going on, and we weren't able to prove it," Oswald continued. "I think that is devastating as a child abuse prosecutor, to know that during my time on this case that some of this abuse has occurred, and that is really hard for me when I deal with these cases all the time, so that is tough."
The children range from eight years old to 18, and that does not include the three older adopted boys.
Cohen remains at no bond until his next court date.
"Children shouldn't have to endure what their abusers put them through, no matter what the context is, no matter what the relationship is. They shouldn't have to live through the abuse," said Oswald.
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