|William Dale Watson|
By Jean Cole
ATHENS - A former Madison police officer charged with 17 counts of sexual abuse may be tried in February in Limestone County.
William Dale Watson is listed on the Feb. 10 trial docket in Limestone County Circuit Court. However, Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones said his office might deal with other pending cases before the Watson case. If so, the Watson trial would be rescheduled, Jones said.
Watson’s trial had been set for Nov. 18, 2013, but was postponed so the district attorney’s office could address older pending cases.
Initially charged in 2012
A Limestone County grand jury formally charged Watson in January 2013 on 13 felony counts of sexual abuse of a child under age 12 and with four misdemeanor counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a child under age 16, according to court records. The latter charge involved one or more girls over age 12 but under age 16, the district attorney said.
Jones has said the charges involve multiple girls whom Watson knew.
Watson pleaded not guilty to all 17 counts and remains free on bail of $300,000.
If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of 10 years on each of the felony charges and from zero to 1 year on the misdemeanor charges.
Watson, who was placed on administrative leave after his initial arrest, resigned from the police department in August 2012. He had been in law enforcement 13 years.