A former Macomb High School teacher and coach is headed to jail.
Daniel Watson has pleaded guilty to a charge of official misconduct for having inappropriate communication with a student who was 17 years old at the time. The two exchanged over 6,000 texts over a three-month period.
Watson was originally charged with one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and two counts of official misconduct. With the plea he avoids the possibility of becoming a registered sex offender.
State's attorney James Hoyle said the deal saves the victim having to face a trial and possibly testifying.
He said, “It's a fair resolution given the balancing of interests that we had to do with our victim and wanting to move on with her life, the defendant's lack of criminal history and the seriousness of the offense. I think it's a fair disposition. He'll never be a teacher again and he'll be a felon the rest of his life”.
Watson will receive credit for one day already served. His sentence includes up to 150 days in McDonough County Jail. His attorney, Craig Pierce, expects Watson will serve about half that time before being released to go on probation.
Watson will be on probation for 30 months. He will also pay a $4,000 fine, court costs and penalties. He will also have to provide a DNA sample. He will be subject to random drug tests as well.
Judge Raymond Cavanaugh called the situation “repugnant and abhorrent.”