Coach gets 228 years in sexual abuse case

A North Philadelphia man who founded a youth football team in his neighborhood and who hung around another youth team in Rhawnhurst has been ordered to serve up to 228 years in prison for sexaully abusing five children and one developmentally delayed adult.

Common Pleas Court Judge Timika Lane sentenced Leon Watson, 25, of the 2400 block of W. Diamond St., on Friday. A jury convicted Watson in January.

“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 coach. He was creating a scheme to become a sexual predator,” District Attorney Seth Williams said.

Officials from the city’s Department of Human Services and Philadelphia police went to Watson’s home on Nov. 10, 2013, after receiving a complaint that Watson was sexually abusing children who were living there. Authorities found four boys ages 14, 10, 9 and 8. All four, as well as a developmentally delayed adult who assisted the team, reported that Watson had been abusing them for months.

Initially, authorities stated that Watson also was a “part-time coach” for the Rhawnhurst Raiders, but that youth organization denied that Watson had served in any official capacity. The victims were not affiliated with the Raiders. ••