by: Jennifer Smith
A retired Kanawha County teacher admitted his sexual abuse of three former students was a “sick, sick, sick mentally destructive idea” was sentenced to spend two to 10 years in prison.
John Watt III went before Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jim Stucky on Monday morning. The 73-year-old Watt previously pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree sexual assault and one count of crimes against nature.
One of Watt’s victims spoke out in court, saying he was just 13 when Watt first assaulted him at McKinley Junior High in St. Albans. He said the abuse went on for months. However, it wasn’t until the victim was contacted by a fellow classmate several years ago—who said he had also been abused by Watt—that the two contacted police.
The victim asked Stucky to “show no mercy” to Watt.
Watt addressed the court admitting he was guilty of sexually abusing the three victims.
“Everything they said about me, it’s my fault. I deserve it,” Watt said as he broke down in tears. “I’m so sorry.”
Watt’s crimes date back to 1981. He admitted he performed sexual intercourse as well as oral sex and masturbation, on three students.
“I never, ever meant to imply that the victims initiated or wanted anything sexual. It was always my sick, sick, sick mentally destructive idea,” Watt told the judge.
Watt was taken into custody and transferred to the South Central Regional Jail awaiting his placement in the prison sentence. Upon release from prison, he will be on 20 years of supervised release. He must also register as a sex offender and take an HIV test.
Watt had a history of sexual assault allegations within the Kanawha County school system dating back before the crimes that took place in the 80s. A complaint was filed against him by a parent of a young man at Woodrow Wilson Junior High in 1967. According to Watt’s personnel file, no action was taken against the teacher other than transferring Watt to a different campus.