A former Woodford County coach and Fayette County teacher faces a one-year sentence after pleading guilty Wednesday to the sexual abuse of a girl in 2001.
Larry Watts, 61, entered the plea in Woodford Circuit Court to a lesser felony than was originally charged in the 2015 indictment. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Lee Greenup recommended a one-year sentence.
Watts was indicted on two counts of sexual abuse of a girl younger than 12, which is punishable by five to 10 years in prison. One count was dismissed Wednesday.
On the remaining count, Watts entered a plea on a charge involving a victim younger than 16, which is punishable by one to five years in prison.
“He confessed but he confessed to her being older than 12,” Greenup said. “He admitted the contact but he denied that she was 12 and under at the time that he made his statement to police.”
Watts was an assistant boys’ basketball coach at Woodford County High School when he was charged. He had worked there since 2009. Watts is no longer with the Woodford district but is now doing construction work.
He was a SAFE (Suspension And Failure Elimination) room teacher at Morton Middle School in Lexington during the 2013-14 school year, the Fayette County school district confirmed at the time of the indictment.
During the 2014-15 school year, Watts was a paraeducator, or instructional assistant, at Cardinal Valley Elementary. His contract was not renewed at the end of that year.
Sentencing is set for January. Greenup said the commonwealth will oppose a probated sentence. The final decision will be up to Woodford Circuit Judge Paul Isaacs.
Watts will have to register as a sex offender and he will have to complete a treatment program for sex offenders.