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June 10, 2014

Man arrested for sexual abuse of boy

Charges include 4 counts of child molesting; man’s dad also charged

JEFFERSONVILLE — A man has been charged in Clark County for the sexual abuse of a Jeffersonville boy.

James Watkins, 42, Jeffersonville, was arrested Sunday during a traffic stop by Charlestown police, after a warrant had been issued for his arrest in March, following an investigation by the Jeffersonville Police Department.

Watkins has been charged in Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 with four counts of class A felony child molesting and class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor. He is accused of engaging in oral sex and other inappropriate contact from six to nine times in 2011 and 2013 with a child.

The child, now 15, disclosed the alleged abuse during a church retreat in July, according the probable cause affidavit drafted by JPD. The boy also claims that he was sexually abused by Watkins’ father, Clarence Watkins.

Clarence Watkins has been charged with class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor and a warrant is outstanding for his arrest.

Days after Department of Child Services was notified of the accusations made during the church retreat, the child underwent a forensic interview at Family and Children’s Place in New Albany.

After an incident of alleged sexual conduct between the child and Watkins in the basement of a home in 2011, the boy reported that he told his mother of the incident, but she disregarded the matter.

Later, when police interviewed the child’s mother, she said her son had reported the abuse, but “ ... she recalled not believing the accusation was true, initially.”

During the forensic interview, the boy told authorities that the abuse occurred on other occasions, but he did not report it to his mother because he was “ ... embarrassed that it happened, again.”

On the most recent incident of the alleged abuse in May 2013, according the affidavit, the boy said Watkins told him that he would kill himself if he told anyone of abuse. Three days after the boy’s forensic interview in July, Watkins was interviewed at JPD.

“Eventually, Watkins admitted to sexual contact with [the boy] on one to two occasions,” according the police report. “[Watkins] stated he was drinking and they grabbed each other. He, however, initially denied oral sex.”

Police reported that “for a large portion of the interview with Watkins, his statement was inconsistent.”

Police also reported that Watkins said he “was ashamed of what occurred and would change it if he could,” and “Watkins believes the devil snuck in to his body when that happened.”

Watkins was scheduled to appear in court today, June 10, for an initial appearance.

He is being represented by Jeffersonville attorney Larry Wilder.

“The allegations against Mr. Watkins are very serious,” Wilder said Monday. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to review all the of evidence, conduct depositions and fully investigate the matter.”

If convicted of all the charges against him and given the maximum penalty, Watkins will go to the Indiana Department of Correction for a 270-year sentence.

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