Moose Lake man accused of sexually assaulting child

The incident took place at a party in Barnum about six years ago when the victim was approximately 10 years old.

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A Moose Lake man is in custody at the Carlton County Jail after being accused of sexually assaulting a child.

Randy James Watterson, 29, was arrested Monday, May 3, by the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office after failing to appear for a court hearing in April. Watterson was on pretrial release after being charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct in December.

Randy James Watterson

According to the complaint, the incident took place nearly six years ago during a party at the victim’s mother’s house when the victim was approximately 10 years old. Those in attendance included the victim’s mother, two sisters and their boyfriends.


At the time of the party, Watterson was the boyfriend of the victim’s older sister, the complaint said.

In her interview with First Witness Child Advocacy Center in Duluth, the victim said she had gone to her bedroom to sleep on the night of the party. The victim was awakened by Watterson, who was crouching by the bed and groping her, according to the complaint.

An interview with the other man present at the party confirmed Watterson was there and that alcohol was consumed that night. He also stated that later in the night, he saw Watterson “crawling” next to the victim’s bed, and a short time later, the victim came out of the bedroom looking for a family member, the complaint said.

In a non-custodial interview, Watterson confirmed he was at the party, but he was drinking a lot of alcohol and does not recall what happened, according to the complaint. Watterson said he could not confirm or deny the allegations.

If convicted, Watterson faces up to 25 years in prison, a $35,000 fine or both. He is next scheduled to be in court for an omnibus hearing at 9 a.m. June 2.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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