Boot Camp Coordinator Arrested and Charged - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/8/04 - Tyler

Boot Camp Coordinator Arrested and Charged

It was the summer of 2002. Two teenage sisters, who wish to remain unidentified, say they had almost daily encounters with retired Army Sgt. Maj. James Watley. He supervised the older sister, then 17, who was on probation and performing community service for running away from home. Watley was also the coordinator of S.T.A.R. Boot Camp, where the younger sister, then 14, spent the summer as punishment for skipping school. She says Watley took her to summer school every day and used the car ride to sexually harass her.

"One time, when I was going to summer school, and he picked me up and took me to summer school," she said. "And he told me, skip school. He was like, 'Skip school. Let's go have sex.' That's what he said. And he touched my leg. And I pushed his hand off my leg. And I got off. And then he's like, 'Ok, well, you don't know what you're missing.'"

She says Watley also lured her to his house, saying he wanted to talk to her about her improvements at school, but first he had to get some paperwork.

"I was afraid that day that he took me to his house 'cause nobody knew that I was out there," she said.

There, she says Watley made sexual advances, started playing a pornographic movie, and yelled profanities when she pleaded for him to take her home.

Her older sister says Watley also sexually harassed her and even threatened their family.

"He told me that if I told my boyfriend, that he would shoot him with some, you know, this type of gun, that he would shoot him from a long distance, that it wouldn't make it sound so nobody would know it was him," she said. "He showed me the gun he would shoot my boyfriend with."

The case was brought before the grand jury, but when former District Attorney Jack Skeen left office, the case was reportedly left open, but set aside. That is until acting D.A. Matt Bingham brought it back out again last week. Watley was charged with criminal solicitation of a minor and aggravated perjury. Acting prosecutor Bingham says details about the second charge cannot be revealed at this time. But one thing is certain: The girls say they want Watley to go to jail because they won't feel safe until then.

Watley has bonded out of the Smith County Jail on a $40,000 bond. He has been suspended from his job without pay, while the Juvenile Attention Center conducts its own internal investigation.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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