CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A retired Kanawha County teacher admitted his sexual abuse of three former students was a “sick, sick, sick mentally destructive idea” was sentenced to spend two to 10 years in prison.

John Watt III went before Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jim Stucky on Monday morning. The 73-year-old Watt previously pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree sexual assault and one count of crimes against nature.

Jennifer Smith/MetroNews

Former Kanawha County teacher John Watt III, 73, was sentenced Monday for sexually assaulting students in the 1980s.

One of Watt’s victims spoke out in court, saying he was just 13 when Watt first assaulted him at McKinley Junior High in St. Albans. The victim asked Stucky to “show no mercy” to Watt.

Watt addressed the court admitting he was guilty of sexually abusing the three victims.

“Everything they said about me, it’s my fault. I deserve it,” Watt said as he broke down in tears. “I’m so sorry.”

Watt’s crimes date back to 1981. He admitted he performed sexual intercourse as well as oral sex and masturbation, on three students.

“I never, ever meant to imply that the victims initiated or wanted anything sexual. It was always my sick, sick, sick mentally destructive idea,” Watt told the judge.

Watt was taken into custody and transferred to the South Central Regional Jail awaiting his placement in the prison sentence. Upon release from prison, he will be on 20 years of supervised release. He must also register as a sex offender and take an HIV test.

Watt had a history of sexual assault allegations within the Kanawha County school system dating back before the crimes that took place in the 80s. A complaint was filed against him by a parent of a young man at Woodrow Wilson Junior High in 1967. According to Watt’s personnel file, no action was taken against the teacher other than transferring Watt to a different campus.

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  • Randy

    An allegation in 1967 would be much more difficult to make than one now, due to it being a sign of the times. The fact that a victim had the courage to come forward that long ago probably means there were at least hundreds of victims. But he got a transfer. Around 1980 my English teacher had the guts to warn all her classes about good old A.J. (uncle of senator) you know who, about his preying on teenage boys. He died respected and just about a WV political hero despite everything he had done. Even when people see things with their own eyes, they often just brush it off. DON'T BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE.

  • Tom

    Dammmmm do we ever need the death penalty here......fry 'em!!!

  • Unbelievable

    It's a shame restitution for the victims isn't mandated. I'm not a fan of the 2 year reporting law. So many sex abuse victims are threatened by the abuser and children believe what they are told. I sat in this teacher's classroom and even at that age I knew there was a problem! I can't imagine what these men have gone through all their lives, but by knowing at least one of the victims I can say their life hasn't been easy and I'm positive it might be leading down a different road had this not happened to him. I'm ashamed I went to school in Kanawha County Schools. Royally ticked there's only three charges! Since when is it okay to lessen the charges when it comes to crimes against children? I just don't understand the legal system! I'm sure he used these young boys on more than three occasions!

  • Pamela

    Kanawha County Schools should also be held liable for its lack of action against this man.

    • Lee

      The statute of limitations keeps us from going after the school board. We had only 2 years after it happened. You'd think a 13 year old should have known that. Yes, that was sarcasm.

  • Jason412

    2 to 10. Look for this guy in a neighborhood near you in about 14 months. Unbelievable.

  • wow

    How can a monster like this get less time than a college student that sells a bag of weed. Anything less than death for this piece of s**t is not enough. The ones that moved him from school to school should get the 2-10. Hopefully he can find a really BIG boyfriend in jail for some pay back.

    • Jason412

      He will be in Protective Custody in jail. Our system caters to child molestors and makes sure they have no chance of contact with non-sex offender inmates. Hopefully he's in bad enough health he dies during his short prison sentence

  • John

    It's my opinion that the "administrators" that transferred him to a different school just spread the problem. Those members making that decision should be pointed out as accomplices and charges brought pertaining to their competency. Typical case of educators unable to make a sound decision.

    • WV Man

      Gay rights?

  • Dr. Nate

    This one moves to the front of the line, to be feed into my tree chipper! He comes clean, and tells of all the little boys he molested, he gets to go head first! He doesn't want to be truthful......he goes feet first.....and go a inch,every 15 minutes!.............his retiree checks.....well they should get split up for the victims!

  • Voter

    Does he still get his retirement when he goes to prison?

    • Wowbagger

      No, I'm fairly certain this is grounds to terminate his retirement and possibly claw back previous payments if he has any assets.

  • Brian

    Justice served. I can appreciate the fear and psychology of the victims but I wish victims would muster the courage and come forth with their allegations of abuse in a timely manner. Might save someone else from being abused.

    • Lee

      Can you not read? He was passed from school to school starting in 1967 after parents went to the school board about the freak.

      • Brian

        1st news release didn't have details at time of publication regarding his personnel file showing shifts from school to school. A fail for our already dysfunctional education system but not surprising. How bout another raise for the system?

        • Lee

          Sorry for the rant, Brian. You are right. All they do is cry about dress codes and money. They need to worry about who they hire and do a more thorough background check on each and every one of them.

  • rose

    "Zero tolerance' hadn't been heard of back then.
    You just shipped them to a different school, or church, and that was the end of your faculty problem.
    Too bad for the students though.