Former UAF basketball player sentenced to five years

Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A former basketball player at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has been sentenced to spend more than five years in prison.

Cameron Watts pleaded no contest to reduced charges of attempted kidnapping and sexual assault. Judge Donald Hopwood also ordered that Watts be placed on seven years probation.

Watts, 19, was a former Lathrop high School standout and a freshman backup point guard for UAF. He was arrested by university police after allegedly hiding in the truck of his former girlfriend's car and then entering the vehicle when she returned from classes Nov. 21, 2001.

The woman testified Watts had a knife and threatened her with it over a six-hour period in which he forced her to drive around to talk about their relationship.

The incident occurred hours after a hearing in which the woman had secured a domestic violence protection order against Watts. She had testified that earlier that month Watts had entered her dorm room, tied her up, placed tape over her mouth and raped her.

A grand jury had indicted Watts on charges of sexual abuse, kidnapping, assault and violating a domestic violence protection order. All the charges were related to the two incidents.

Watts initially entered an innocent plea but then as part of a plea agreement changed his plea.

Watts spoke briefly before he was sentenced Friday. He said he wished the best for the victim and her family.

''I need to make sure everybody knows I didn't mean to hurt anyone,'' he said.

But Hopwood said Watt's actions were especially disturbing.

''For somebody that was only 18 at the time, I'm perplexed at how he could behave with that intensity and with that sense of purpose,'' the judge said.

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