PHILADELPHIA (September 11, 2015) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that the Hon. Timika Lane sentenced twenty-six-year-old Leon Watson to 114 – 228 years of incarceration. Watson was convicted by a jury of his peers on January 15, 2015, for sexually abusing five children between the ages of eight- and ten-years-old and one developmentally delayed adult.
“When Leon Watson created Little Vicks, his N. Philadelphia youth football team, and recruited children from the neighborhood, he was not trying to be a mentor and a coach. He was creating a scheme to become a sexual predator,” said R. Seth Williams, Philadelphia District Attorney. “Mr. Watson deserves every one of the 228 years that he received today, and I’d like to thank the entire team from my Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit, Judge Lane and courageous victims who gave statements today for their hard work and strength.”
On November 10, 2013, the Department of Human Services (DHS) received an anonymous tip that the children living in the defendant’s home were being sexually abused. When DHS spoke to the defendant he told investigators that there were no children in the home except for a fourteen-year-old and a ten-year-old who were ordered by the defendant to provide fake names and birth dates. After a Philadelphia Police Department search of the house, officers found two additional children, an eight-year-old and his nine-year-old brother, hidden upstairs.
When interviewed, all the children and the developmentally delayed twenty-one-year old victim who helped with the team said that the defendant had been sexually abusing them for months. They also said that the defendant forced them to beg for money outside Philadelphia sporting venues for up to twelve hours a day.
Judge Lane stated the long sentence was necessary “because the defendant has demonstrated that he cannot live within the confines of a civilized society.” She noted that the “defendant not only raped each child but would often force the other boys to watch.” Addressing two of the victimized boys in court, Judge Lane told them that “this does not define your life; you are both very brave young men.
ADA Brandon Jaycox stated, “These boys showed enormous courage in not only disclosing this horrific abuse but also in facing this rapist again in court.” ADA Branwen McNabb further remarked, “Judge Lane has removed a dangerous, serial predator from our community for the rest of his life and thereby protected innumerable children who might have become his victims in the future.”