Musician dies two months after release from jail

Musician dies two months after release from jail

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Charles L. Cohen, a Center City musician who was recently jailed after being nabbed in a Craigslist sting, died Sept. 29 of natural causes, his attorney said this week.

Cohen, 71, gained prominence by playing the Buchla Music Easel, a rare musical instrument. He was widely admired in the music field and performed throughout the world.
 
But Cohen also achieved notoriety in 2015 after being ensnared in a Craigslist sting. Prosecutors claimed Cohen wanted to have oral sex with an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old boy on Craigslist. 
 
In September 2015, Cohen traveled to an Upper Providence shopping mall to meet the supposed youth, according to court records.
 
Eventually, Cohen pleaded "no contest" to multiple sex-related offenses and served about five months in jail. He was released on July 29.
 
Cohen's advocates urged a Montgomery County judge to impose probation rather than jail time, noting Cohen's frail health. But the judge said jail time was appropriate.
 
At the time of the incident, Cohen was on a medication known as Mirapex to treat Parkinson's disease, which he said contributed to sexual compulsivity.
 
Cohen's attorney, Scott A. Harper, praised Cohen's qualities. 
 
"He was one of the nicest persons I've ever met," Harper said. "He had no ill will towards anyone, not even the policeman that arrested him nor the prosecutor.  He was kind and gentle and very soft-spoken. He was the king of his [music] field.  He crescendoed too late to enjoy his recent successes. His European fans will hopefully understand his situation and remember him for the beautiful music he once created.  He was good but humble.  He will be missed."
 
If Cohen had survived, he would have been required to register with the Pennsylvania state police every three months for the rest of his life, according to court records.

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