By Jean Cole
ATHENS — A former Madison Police officer living in eastern Limestone County has been arrested on 17 counts of sexual abuse involving multiple girls.
Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones told The News Courier that William Dale Watson turned himself in to the Limestone County Jail Tuesday afternoon on warrants stemming from a recent grand jury indictment.
The grand jury formally charged Watson with 13 felony counts of sexual abuse of a child under age 12 and with four misdemeanor counts of second-degree sexual abuse, Jones said. The latter charge involved one or more girls over age 12 but under age 16, the district attorney said.
“The charges involve multiple girls whom he knew,” Jones said.
The district attorney declined to disclose how Watson knew the girls.
Watson posted a $300,000 bail on the charges and was released about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.
No trial date has been set in Limestone County Circuit Court.
If convicted, Watson faces a minimum sentence of 10 years on each of the felony charges and from zero to 1 year on the misdemeanor charges, Jones said.
After Watson was initially charged in August, he was admitted to the hospital for undisclosed reasons. While hospitalized, fire heavily damaged his home on Burgreen Road, which investigators considered suspicious.
Watson, who was placed on administrative leave after his initial arrest, later resigned from the force.