Police say Utah County man arrested for sex abuse a ‘serial child sexual predator’

UTAH COUNTY — A Utah County man was booked into jail Thursday for child sex abuse charges, and police say the man is a “serial child predator” who violated his probation.

Richard Craig Watson, 54 of American Fork, was arrested Friday and faces two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. Watson, who goes by Craig, was also booked on an Adult Probation and Parole hold.

According to a statement of probable cause, the most recent charges against Watson stem from an incident that occurred in May or early June of 2017 as Watson was visiting family in Eagle Mountain.

The relatives had prohibited Watson from spending the night or having unsupervised contact with the children, and Watson’s parole prohibits him from being “around girls under the age of 18.” However, while the parents of two young girls were out of town, Watson spent time at the home with the children and a babysitter.

Watson allegedly sexually abused one of the young girls at the home after falling asleep on a couch while watching a movie.

Police interviewed the two children, and one reported the most recent incident while the other said a similar incident occurred months earlier. The relatives confirmed that Watson had been caught in contact with the young child in December of 2015.

Police say Watson is a “serial child sexual predator” who has previous convictions for child sex offenses, lewdness involving a child, and larceny as well as violations of his probation. In one case Watson allegedly masturbated in a public park in the presence of female children.

Police say Watson acknowledged his probation prohibits him from contact with young girls and that Watson didn’t have an explanation for why he decided to spend the night at the relatives’ home in Eagle Mountain.

The statement of probable cause states that in addition to this case and the prior convictions, another victim has come forward with similar allegations. Police in Santaquin are also investigating a sex assault allegation against Watson.

Police asked that Watson be booked on a cash only bail in a high amount, saying he has two prior warrants for failing to appear in connection with previous cases. Police note the man is on the sex offender registry and has undergone sex offender treatment.

“All of the previous efforts by the Judicial System to protect the children of this community have been in vain, to the detriment of these new victims. It is anticipated that there will be additional victims coming forward as Craig has not complied with his conditions of probation. Craig is a serial child sexual predator. As a result, an extremely high cash only bail is being requested at this time as that is the only way the children of this community can be protected.”

Watson remains in jail as of Saturday.