Former Texas sheriff dies awaiting sentence for sexual assault

By Calvin Palmer

The former North Texas sheriff awaiting sentencing for coercing a woman to perform a sex act on him to avoid going to jail has died after collapsing at his home.

Bill Keating, 62, pleaded guilty to sexual assault at a federal court and was due to be sentenced in June. He faced up to 10 years in prison.

Montague County authorities say someone at his house called for an ambulance last night, saying Keating was not breathing. He subsequently died.

Chief Deputy J.T. Mitchell said an autopsy is planned but it appears Keating died of natural causes.

Keating also was indicted on state charges of having sex with female inmates at Montague County Jail and taking illegal substances into the jail. Sixteen others have been indicted.

Keating had been sheriff for only one term, from 2004 until December, when he was defeated for re-election.

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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