WEBSTER, N.Y. — A former coach and special education teacher in the Webster Central School District in New York is facing rape charges.
The charges against Kali Watkins, 42, were announced Wednesday morning in a joint news conference with the Webster Police Department and Webster Central School District. Watkins is a former special education teacher and varsity football coach at Webster Schroeder High School (N.Y.).
Watkins was indicted by a Monroe County grand jury on one count of first-degree rape and one count of second-degree rape, said Monroe County assistant district attorney Meredith Vacca.
Vacca said the first-degree charge relates to having engaged in sex by forcible compulsion, and the second-degree charge relates to engaging in sex with a female child less than 15 years old. The incidents are alleged to have occurred in 2016 and 2017, she said.
Officials would not say if the victim was a Webster student.
At the news conference Wednesday, Webster schools superintendent Carmen Gumina said internal concerns about Watkins’ conduct at Webster Schroeder were raised in November 2017, leading to a district investigation and Watkins being placed on administrative leave. During that probe, Gumina said, “the district was informed of an unrelated criminal allegation,” which officials referred to the Webster Police Department. Watkins was fired by the district on Dec. 22, 2017.
Webster Police Chief Joseph Rieger said his agency’s investigation began immediately then and has been “ongoing ever since.”
Watkins, who had been the Schroeder football coach for the previous eight seasons, started the 2017 season as coach of the Webster Schroeder girls varsity basketball team but was quickly replaced by veteran softball coach Meaghan Keil.
The Democrat and Chronicle reported in December 2017 that parents of girls basketball players were told in mid-November 2017 that Watkins was taking a leave of absence.
Watkins was named Monroe County Division I football Coach of the Year in 2017 but did not attend the banquet to receive his award. He is a former receiver and safety at the University of Buffalo and was a two-year captain for the Bulls and a 2014 inductee into the Section V Hall of Fame.
According to Monroe County Jail records, Watkins was being held without bail on a sealed indictment as of Wednesday morning.
Includes reporting by D&C staff writer Justin Murphy.