Watkins broke down in tears while reading a statement to the court before Clark County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard O’Neill handed down his sentence.
“I’d like to say I’m sorry for what I’ve done to your daughter. Everyday I’ve been worried and concerned about how she is doing and her family,” Watkins said in court. “I’m sorry for putting your family through all of this. I’d also like to apologize to my mom and my dad for what I did. I feel like I’ve failed you as your son.”
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Judge O’Neill said he didn’t feel like Watkins had remorse for what had happened.
He pointed to several excerpts from victim’s impact statements submitted by the victim’s mom
“I can answer one of your questions sir. The family and your victim are not doing well at all,” O’Neill said.
The teen pleaded guilty to a gross sexual imposition charge in early May. The sentencing has been postponed several times since then.
While specifics of the crime are unclear the prosecutor’s office said the assault happened at a North Hampton church function.
Watkins was a student in the Northeastern Local School District and the Springfield Clark County Career Technology Center. The prosecutor’s office said Watkins was enrolled in the early childhood education program at the CTC.
Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Aaron Heskett asked the judge to sentence Watkins to four years, pointing to a similar four year sentence that was handed down by Judge O’Neill in July to William Young Jr.
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Young was also convicted of a gross sexual imposition charge, along with other counts of pandering obscene material involving a minor.
“To protect the public your honor, to punish the offender your honor - you need to impose a sentence of four years in prison,” Heskett said.
Watkins’ defense attorney, Gregory Lind said he believed the teen could become a successful member of society with proper treatment.
“His actions were incorrect, but he’s got a future ahead of him,” he said.
As Watkins was escorted from court, he said goodbye to his mom and dad who were in the audience.
“I love you guys,” he sobbed.
In addition to the prison sentence, Watkins will have to register as a Tier II sex offender. He will have to register his address with the local sheriff’s office every 180 days for the next 25 years.