|For Immediate Release
December 15th, 2004
District Attorney Spokesperson
FORMER CANYON HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL COACH SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 8 YEARS IN PRISON FOR A SERIES OF SEXUAL ASSAULTS AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WITH ONE OF HIS UNDERAGE PLAYERS
Santa Ana- A former Canyon High School girls basketball coach has been sentenced to more than 8 years in state prison for having sex with one of his underage players and for physically abusing the girl. Michael Anthony Watson, 41, of Orange, pled guilty this morning to two counts of statutory rape, two counts of forcible sodomy, attempted sodomy, domestic violence, oral copulation of a minor, lewd act on a child, and possession of child pornography. He is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
The sexual assaults began in October 2001, when the victim was 15-years-old. The sexual assaults continued through October 20, 2003, when the victim called police after being choked by Watson. In the spring of 2002, while Watson was going through a divorce, he moved in with the victim and her family for about four to six weeks. The relationship continued while Watson and the victim began working together at a Vons in Orange. On October 20, 2003, Watson choked the victim outside of the Vons after a teenage boy asked the victim for her phone number. The victim reported the incident to the Orange Police Department and later admitted to being sexually assaulted by Watson.
“Mr. Watson was in a position of trust and authority and he used that position to take advantage of a young girl,” said Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Duke. “It is important for our community to protect young girls from being preyed upon by adult men, especially coaches and teachers.”
The plea was entered in the courtroom of the Honorable Judge Carla Singer in the Central Justice Center of the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana. Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Duke in the Sexual Assault unit prosecuted the case.