Germantown doctor sentenced in sexual battery case involving teens

Dr. Noel J. Watson
Caption
Dr. Noel J. Watson

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

A longtime Germantown doctor was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday in connection to sexual assaults against teenage males.

Dr. Noel Watson, 76, was sentenced after pleading guilty to 11 counts of sexual battery last month. A plea agreement said that Watson faced between 10 and 15 years in prison. He will also be required to register as a Tier 3 sexual offender.

Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Montgomery said during the sentencing that from the outside, Watson appeared to be an upstanding citizen — but that wasn’t true.

“What lies beyond the outer appearance is a much more sinister person,” Montgomery said. “You had a duty to treat your patients, to care for your patients, ... you had an oath as a doctor to first do no harm.”

But instead, the judge said, Watson inflicted life-long harm.

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The crimes took place between 2005 and 2018, according to a bill of information filed in the case.

Authorities began their investigation into Watson when a man in October 2020 reported to police that he had a sexual relationship with the doctor when he was a minor, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said. A lengthy investigation by the county sheriff’s office found two additional sexual assault victims, according to a prosecutor’s release.

Watson’s family medicine practice was at 1225 W. Market St. He had practiced medicine for nearly 50 years, attorneys in the case said.

In a sentencing memorandum filed in the case, prosecutors said Watson has been abusing victims for decades but conduct from the 1980s and 1990s was beyond the statute of limitations.

“The common thread amongst all of the victims that came forward, whether Watson was charged or not, was that all were teenage males and Watson was always the initiating party,” prosecutors said.

They said in early 2021, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office assisted an accuser in performing a controlled call with Watson where the two discussed the doctor sexually assaulting the accuser.

“In an over 10-minute recorded conversation, Watson readily discussed the sexual exploits he engaged in with (the accuser) and asserted it was during his period of ‘darkness,’” a states sentencing memorandum says. “Subsequent to the call, the MCSO detective attempted to interview Watson. Watson declined.”

“Watson is not the first doctor to be convicted of such despicable conduct, and the state is not so naïve to believe he will be the last,” the memorandum says. “The State respectfully requests this court impose the maximum possible penalties so as to put other medical professionals on notice that this type of conduct will not be tolerated and to punish Watson for the pain he has inflicted.”

During a victim impact statement, a letter was read by one of the people abused by Watson. It said that Watson’s actions caused years of trauma and addiction.

“I still struggle with the memories of what happened,” the letter said, but also said that the future is brighter than it’s ever been.

“I know I was the first to come forward, the first to bring light to what happened, but I know I wasn’t the first this happened to and I know I wasn’t the last,” the letter said.

Meanwhile, the defense in the case also filed a sentencing memorandum asking the court to sentence Watson to 10 years in prison. It highlighted that Dr. Watson served the community for decades including serving in the Navy for two years. It says that he has a loving family and has lost virtually everything he has worked for.

Watson apologized in court to the victims and their families said he planned to serve the sentence with honor and equanimity.

The memorandum filed by his attorney also noted that Watson spoke openly to the accuser during the phone call.

“Dr. Watson did not ignore the questions or hang up the phone,” the memorandum says. “Rather, he had a detailed conversation about a sensitive topic that would undoubtedly lead to criminal charges being filed against him. This clearly shows that he was sorry for what he had done....”

“Most importantly, Dr. Watson did not attempt to prolong litigation and create more stress for everyone,” the memorandum says. “He did not run from his responsibility. Rather, he willingly entered an agreement whereby he would lose his medical license and go to prison for between 10 and 15 years. Dr. Watson’s decision clearly shows remorse, an understanding of his wrongdoing, and a willingness for rehabilitation.”