ELLENSBURG, Wash. – A 51-year-old Cle Elum, Wash., pastor has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to raping and molesting a boy multiple times over six years.
Kittitas County prosecutors said Friday that James Watkins' sentence was at the top of the range for his conviction on three counts of child rape and one count of child molestation.
Deputy Prosecutor Paul Sander says Watkins was arrested and charged in July after the victim came forward out of concern that Watkins was grooming another victim.
Sander says Watkins and the now-adult victim knew each other. At the time of the abuse, the victim was between 9 and 15 years old. A police investigation found no other victims.
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The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that Watkins had been pastor at the Bible Baptist Church in Cle Elum. An Associated Press message left at the church wasn't immediately returned.