Former WCHS coach gets probation for sex abuse - Must serve weekends in jail
A former Woodford County High School assistant boys’ basketball coach was placed on five years probation for first-degree sexual abuse in Woodford Circuit Court on Jan. 3.
Judge Paul Isaacs ordered Larry Watts, of Versailles, to serve every weekend in jail for three months because of the serious nature of the crime, but suspended the remainder of a one-year prison sentence.
Besides being ordered to complete a sexual abuse treatment program and register as a sex offender for 20 years, Isaacs ordered Watts to not have any contact with children or be involved as a leader of any organization involving children without the approval of his therapist or community supervision agent.
According to an indictment returned by a Woodford County grand jury, Watts unlawfully subjected a girl to sexual contact in 2001. He pled guilty to a single count of first-degree sexual abuse (victim under 16 years of age) on Oct. 4, 2017.
Defense attorney Matthew Boyd noted that his 61-year-old client had no criminal history prior to or since committing this offense more than a decade ago. He said Watts has also voluntarily participated in counseling and sought help before any criminal charges were brought against him in Woodford Circuit Court.
“The depth of guilt and regret,” said Watts, “I can’t even describe it … I’ve cried, I’ve pleaded, I’ve prayed many times to God to let me relive just a handful of minutes of some bad decisions that I made. It’s just a few minutes out of 61 years.”
In asking for probation or home incarceration as an alternative to prison, Boyd told Judge Isaacs, “That doesn’t excuse him. It doesn’t diminish anything. I think that it is fitting in the case with a one-year sentence on a D felony.”
Watts was originally charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse (victim under 12 years of age) and could have faced up to five to 10 years in prison for each of the class C felonies, but Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Lee Greenup told Judge Isaacs that those charges were amended to one count of a class D felony after he consulted with the victim in the case. “She approved what I think is a significant break for him,” said Greenup.
“…I can’t imagine, emotionally, the turmoil that she has had to go through all of these years, all of these years.” Before urging Judge Isaacs to impose the one-year prison sentence in order to not depreciate the seriousness of this crime, Greenup said,
“This man was a teacher and a coach. He knew he had a legal, moral and ethical responsibility to tell someone if he knew any child was abused.”
Earlier, Watts said he agreed to accept the plea agreement to “avoid an ugly trial,” and also allow his family and “primarily the victim” to heal.
“You’ve read the statement from the victim,” Greenup told Judge Isaacs. “That is not a person who’s back to normal. That is not a person who has healed. She was a child. He was an adult who knew better.”