Local Teacher Charged after Attempting to Engage in Sexual Conduct with a Minor
HOUSTON – A 30-year-old teacher has been arrested on multiple charges surrounding his travel across state lines to engage in sexaul activity with a minor male, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Drew Dillon Watson is a Physics teacher at a local school serving approximately 1,000 students in grades 6-12.
Watson, of Houston, was taken into custody yesterday upon the filing of a criminal complaint. He is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Wm. Smith at 2:00 p.m., at which time the government intends to request his detention pending further criminal proceedings.
The criminal complaint alleges Watson had been communicating with a 15-year-old male via text messaging, telephone calls, Skype and social media such as Kik and Snapchat beginning on or about April 16, 2016. During those conversations, Watson allegedly engaged in extremely explicit sexual conversations which eventually led to plans for Watson to travel to Illinois to meet with the boy. According to the criminal complaint, the minor male believed Watson’s intentions to be sexual in nature and that they had discussed engaging in various sex acts once they were alone.
The complaint further indicates that Watson was aware the male was under the age of 18. During those online communications, which allegedly occurred every day, Watson had stated he was approximately 30 years old and had formerly been employed as a physics teacher at a Texas area high school. The male informed Watson that he was a 16-year old high school student. As the communications progressed, Watson also allegedly sent the minor full body nude images of himself.
The criminal complaint charges that on May 13, 2016, Watson flew from Houston to Chicago with plans to meet with the boy for the purpose of engaging in illicit conduct. The victim’s mother had dropped her son off at a friend’s residence, thinking he was spending the weekend there. According to the charges, she was about to leave, when she felt something amiss and circled back around to the home. There, she witnessed her son entering a vehicle driven by an approximately 30-year-old male, according to the complaint. She confronted him, at which time her son exited the vehicle and they alerted authorities.
Watson is charged with coercion and enticement as well as transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. Both counts carry a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison. He is also charged with travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct which carries another 30-year-maximum term.
The FBI Violent Crime Task Force investigated the case with assistance from FBI in Chicago and the Lansing, Illinois, Police Department.
This case, being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri Zack, was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.