A former Albemarle County Boy scout leader accused of child sex crimes entered a plea deal in Albemarle County Circuit Court Wednesday morning. Watkins, 50, pleaded guilty to 36 counts of carnal knowledge of children between the ages of 13 and 15 years old.
The three victims, now men, sat quietly through the hearing. The plea deal keeps them from reliving the crimes at trial.
“He was in a position of trust with those young men and he needs to be guilty of those offenses,” said Darby Lowe, deputy commonwealth’s attorney.
Watkins spent six years as a Boy Scout troop leader in Keswick.
Lowe told the judge that Watkins used his leadership position to manipulate three scouts into sex acts between 2006 and 2009. Lowe said the plea agreement allowed them to move on with their lives.
“The young men would have had to come forward and testify about very, very difficult, horrendous offenses,” said Lowe.
The prosecution’s recommended sentence of 30 years and five months would keep Watkins off the streets until he is in his eighties. The judge has the option of sentencing Watkins to up to 10 years for each offense, or a total 360 years. Whether there was force or manipulation may affect the judge's final sentence.
Watkins is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on April 25 at 9 a.m. in Albemarle County Circuit Court.
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