REGIONAL: Wrestler who 'cynically sexually exploited' boys in 80s and 90s is jailed

A wrestling coach who "cynically sexually exploited" young boys in the 80s and 90s while carrying out "sports massages" has been jailed after another of his victims came forward.

Friday, 7th July 2017, 3:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:25 am
James Dougan Watson, 65, a former British trainer who ran his own club, kissed a 15-year-old victim

James Dougan Watson, 65, a former British trainer who ran his own club, kissed a 15-year-old victim with an open mouth and groped his bottom, Bolton Crown Court was told.

Speaking about his ordeal in court, the victim, now 37, said: "Mr Watson has acted despicably but I recognise I was just part of his conveyor belt of abuse."

This is the fourth time Watson has been convicted of sexual offences involving his wrestling students.

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He said his family thought their introduction to Watson was a "golden ticket" for the teenager, as they could never have afforded lessons with him.

The victim said their trust had been comprehensively betrayed.

He added that he could not even bring himself to allow his own children to participate in organised sports, because of his own experiences.

Watson was due to stand trial but eventually pleaded guilty to six specimen charges of indecent assault, relating to when the boy was aged 15 or 16.

Joanne Rodikis, prosecuting, said the defendant would have been aged around 42 when he was introduced to his victim, then 15.

When the teenager's muscles began to feel tight and stiff, after an exercise session, Watson would massage his legs and body, and would always brush against his private parts with his arm.

Miss Rodikis said other occasions would see the boy asked to perform bench presses, where Watson stood behind him to "spot" the exercise but end up thrusting his groin into the teen's face.

The court heard how he also insisted on showing the boy "relaxation technqiues", while lying on a bed with him.

This would always end with Watson, a renowned strength and conditioning coach in Wigan, Lancs., pulling the youngster close and kissing him, while fondling his bottom.

Miss Rodikis said the victim felt "the most scared" when he was asked to accompany Watson to watch another student compete in America.

While in a hotel room together Watson pulled him close and started rubbing his bottom, the court heard.

Robert Golinski, defending, said Watson, who had previously suffered from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, had now been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and was undergoing treatment.

Mr Golinski said: "The defendant has lost everything. He was highly regarded for the very real skills that he possessed, in terms of the sports that he loved. That is gone from his life completely."

Jailing him for 16 months, Judge Timothy Stead said Watson had "cynically sexually exploited" young boys who had sought his assistance in achieving their own sporting aims.