Former YMCA employee sentenced to prison

By Nick Walton -



COLUMBUS – A Columbus man who attended Urbana University and was employed by the Champaign Family YMCA was sent to prison last week for sex crimes against a minor.

According to documents filed in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, Dechard L. Watson, 24, was sentenced to 17 months in prison Jan. 21.

Watson was indicted last year in relation to a March 3 incident in which he engaged in sexual conduct with a 14-year-old in Columbus.

WTTE-TV in Columbus previously reported that Columbus police said Watson lured the victim from a Columbus recreation center by offering him a new pair of shoes if he went for a ride. Watson reportedly drove the victim to an alley near the center and performed a sex act before the victim jumped from the vehicle and informed the center’s staff.

The Daily Citizen previously reported that Watson was enrolled as a student at Urbana University and was employed as a part-time employee at the YMCA from November 2014 until March 9, 2015, when he was terminated due to transportation issues.

Watson pleaded guilty to gross sexual imposition and a stipulated lesser offense of unlawful sex with a minor, both fourth degree felonies, on Dec. 8. He was originally indicted for rape and gross sexual imposition.

While each charge held a 17-month prison sentence, the court ordered the sentences to be served concurrently, resulting in a sentence of 17 months.

A judgment entry states that at the time of plea, the court notified Watson that by entering this plea he would be a sexual offender and classified as a Tier II offender. He is required to comply with registration duties for 25 years including in person verification at the county sheriff’s office every 180 days.

No fines were imposed.

Upon his release, Watson is subject to a mandatory period of post release control for five years.


By Nick Walton

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.