Cullman County Sheriff’s investigators recently arrested a Garden City man for the alleged rape of an 8-year-old girl.
Gordon Lee Watson, 60 was arrested May 16 at his residence and charged with rape in the first degree. Sheriff Tyler Roden said the child’s parents reported the allegations to investigators on May 15.
“We believe it happened sometime prior to that,” Roden said. “There possibly were multiple incidences.”
Sheriff’s reports indicate the alleged rape took place at a Garden City residence. Reports also state Watson was acquainted with the victim prior to having any alleged sexual contact with her.
To Susan Martin, director of Brooks’ Place Child Advocacy Center in Cullman, similar reports of child sexual abuse are far too common. Martin said the center has received approximately 200 child sexual abuse allegations each year for the past 10 years.
“These are the faceless crimes,” Martin said. “We do want people in Cullman to know how often this thing goes on.”
According to statistics from the sheriff’s office, the agency received 28 reports of the rape of a child in 2007 and 2007.
Martin said the families of children who have allegedly been abused are typically referred to the center through the Department of Human Resources or a law enforcement agency. Once at the center, trained professionals provide a variety of services for the children including mental health counseling.
“If it (case) is going to court we go with the family,” Martin said. “We help prepare the child for court.”
Martin noted that center employees do not tell children what to say in court, but instead try to familiarize them with court procedures.
Watson is incarcerated at the Cullman County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.
Rape in the first degree is a Class A felony, punishable by up to life in prison.