A former youth football coach was sentenced to 114 to 228 years in prison for molesting five young boys he coached and a disabled adult who helped with a team he created.
Leon Watson, of the 2400 block of Diamond Street, has been in jail since his 2013 arrest on charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, and related offense.
Watson, 26, was an assistant coach for the Rhawnhurst Raiders and the creator of a second football team, the Little Vicks serving his neighborhood.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said Watson earned every year of his sentence.
“When Leon Watson created Little Vicks, his North Philadelphia youth football team, and recruited children from the neighborhood, he was not trying to be a mentor and a coach. He was creating a scheme to become a sexual predator,” Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams said.
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He was arrested in October 2013 after police reacted to an anonymous tip about children living in his house who were being sexually abused. Police, according to the district attorney's office, found four boys there all between 8 and 10 years old, including two brothers, 8 and 9, who were hiding in a closet.
Also inside was a 21-year-old developmentally disabled man who helped with the team. They all told police that Watson had been raping them for months, and that he sometimes forced them to watch.
The victims also told police that Watson forced them to beg for money outside of sporting events for up to 12 hours per day.
Judge Timika Lane said the long sentence was necessary “because the defendant has demonstrated that he cannot live within the confines of a civilized society.”