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2010 booking photo of William Lee Watson, of Morris.

Morris, Minn., man sentenced for sexual assault of sleeping victim (July 2011)

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Morris Sun Tribune
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By Tom Larson

Sun Tribune

A 47-year-old Morris man was sentenced to four years in prison on Monday for sexually assaulting an intoxicated teenage victim from Alexandria while the victim was asleep at Watson's home in April 2010.

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William Lee Watson, convicted on two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual assault in June, was sentenced Monday to 48 months in prison by Stevens County District Court Judge Gerald Seibel.

Watson was taken into custody at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud.

Watson was sentenced on two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct against a victim who was mentally impaired or helpless.

According to a complaint filed in Stevens County District Court, the victim, then age 19, was in Morris on April 10 attending a party at a residence. The alleged victim admitted consuming "a lot of alcohol," and meeting a man known as "Billy."

According to the complaint, there was a minor altercation at the party involving the victim and that Watson accompanied the victim away from the garage where the party took place. The victim stated remembering crossing a yard, continuing down an alley and arriving at Billy's house.

The victim fell asleep at the house and stated in the complaint that, upon waking, Watson was sexually assaulting the victim.

The victim ran from the home naked, and told police that he then recalled waking up laying on a floor in an unknown residence.

The victim returned to Watson's house, retrieved clothing and later returned to a residence in Alexandria.

At about 9:30 a.m. the next day, April 11, the victim reported receiving a text message from Watson in which Watson admitted to the sexual encounter. The two had exchanged phone numbers at the party, supposedly because of a mutual interest in boxing, according to the complaint.

Watson and the victim exchanged several other text messages.

The victim called Morris police on April 11 about the incident, and then was contacted by Alexandria police to undergo forensic sexual assault testing.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for Watson's house seeking a missing piece of clothing belonging to the victim and the mobile phone used to send and receive text messages. Police took two other mobile phones from the residence.

In the complaint, Watson stated that he helped the alleged victim to the house and that after sleeping briefly, the victim forced sexual contact on Watson, who also claimed that the sex was consensual.

Watson will receive credit for 42 days served, and he will pay about $2,200 in fines and restitution. He will have conditions on his release from prison for 10 years, and he will be required to register as a predatory sex offender.

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