LaMoure police chief pleads not guilty to multiple sexual abuse charges
The police chief of a small southeast North Dakota town who has been charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse in multiple southwest North Dakota counties pleaded not guilty Monday in his initial appearance in Southwest Judicial District Court...
The police chief of a small southeast North Dakota town who has been charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse in multiple southwest North Dakota counties pleaded not guilty Monday in his initial appearance in Southwest Judicial District Court in Dickinson.
LaMoure Police Chief James G. Watson, 51, has been charged with three felony counts of gross sexual imposition and two felony counts of continuous abuse of a child across Hettinger, Stark and Golden Valley counties. Golden Valley State's Attorney Christina Wenko said Watson pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Watson was arrested on Thursday, June 29, and was initially booked into the Stutsman County Jail.
Watson was charged with two Class AA felonies of gross sexual imposition and one Class A felony of gross sexual imposition in Hettinger County. In Stark and Golden Valley counties, he was charged with one count each of Class AA felony continuous sexual abuse of a child. The maximum penalty for a Class AA felony is life in prison.
According to a complaint filed in Stark County, the offenses occurred on a weekly basis from fall 2011 through April 2013 and that during that time Watson "willfully engaged in any combination of three or more sexual acts or sexual contacts with a minor who was under the age of 15 during a time period of three or more months."
The complaint for the case in Golden Valley County explains a similar scenario that occurred from fall 2011 through December 2011.
A cash bond of $100,000 in each case was set by Southwest District Judge James Gion, for a total of $300,000. Watson is listed as an inmate at the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center in Dickinson.
Wenko said Watson did not have an attorney with him during the hearing, but indicated to the court that he wished to apply for court-appointed counsel.
A preliminary hearing for the cases is set for July 31.