Youth football coach convicted of raping 5 young boys and a disabled man

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Philadelphia, PA — It only took a jury 2 hours to convict 25-year-old Leon Watson on several counts of sexual assault on boys ages 8 to 10 and on a disabled 21-year-old man.

Watson volunteered as an assistant coach for a neighborhood football team and often allowed the members of the team to play at his house and to stay there while their parents were away. This enabled him to get close to his victims.

At the end of the trial, in which some of the victims cried through their testimonies, Assistant District Attorney Branwen McNabb gave her closing arguments: “The victims just wanted to pay football … and he stole that from them,” she said. “The defendant’s reign of terror and abuse ends now.”

The defendant’s attorney, Catherine Berryman of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, tried to point to inconsistencies in the victim’s testimonies. However, the jurors didn’t buy her argument.

Watson was initially charged with 55 counts of sexual assault and related charges, but prosecutors decided to present only 16. He was found guilty on all 16 counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, indecent assault, and related offenses.

This isn’t Watson’s first time being accused of sex crimes. The Philadelphia Inquirer has learned that he was arrested five times when he 16 for allegedly assaulting younger relatives including a 3 and 5-year-old.