NBC10.com - Nefertit Jaquez
Police say Leon Watson used his position as a youth football coach to prey on children. He's charged with raping 2 young boys inside his home. NBC10's Nefertiti Jaquez reports.
A youth football coach has been charged with raping two young brothers who were living in his home.
Leon Watson was a part-time coach for the Rhawnhurst Raiders football team and met the 8-year-old and 9-year-old boys he's accused of assaulting and their mother through the team, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said on Thursday.
The 24-year-old also formed his own neighborhood football team, called the "Little Vicks," which had a roster filled with North Philadelphia kids.
Sources close to the investigation tell NBC10 that the mother and boys were homeless and moved into Watson's home along the 2400 block of W. Diamond Street in North Philadelphia in October. It was inside that home where the alleged rapes took place.
"He seemed like he was a nice person. Trying to help the kids. Keeps the young boys off the street, playing football," said Marcella Frisby, who lives next-door to Watson.
Frisby, a young mother, said she was always suspicious of Watson and kept her distance -- not allowing her kids to join his team.
"He asked me for my kids to be on his team. What if we would have trusted him," she asked.
Troy Barton, the father of a player on the Rhawnhurst Raiders, says Watson was less of a coach and more of a volunteer.
"I have seen him up here a couple of time, but again, he's not affiliated with the organization. He didn't give directives to the children," he said.
An anonymous tip led authorities to Watson, the DA's office said. Officials believe there may be more victims and are asking parents to speak with their children.
Watson is charged with Rape, Involuntary Deviant Sexual Intercourse (IDSI), False Imprisonment, Unlawful Restraint, Endangering the Welfare of a Child (EWOC), Corruption of Minors, Indecent Exposure, Indecent Assault, and Recklessly Endangering Another Person (REAP).
He is being held on $500,000 bail with a preliminary hearing set for Nov. 25.