Rossford firefighter pleads not guilty


A suspended Rossford firefighter pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges involving a minor Tuesday
in Wood County Court of Common Pleas.
Thomas Watson, 33, Rossford, appeared in the courtroom of Judge Reeve Kelsey. His bond was set at
$75,000, no 10 percent allowed.
Watson was indicted this month on one count of rape and one count of sexual battery related to an alleged
June 29 incident involving a 17-year-old girl, who was associated with the Rossford Fire Department’s
Explorer Program. The program is open to young adults to give them experience in a career field.
A firefighter/paramedic with Rossford since 2013, Watson was suspended pending the outcome of the case
and internal administrative proceedings.
He was originally scheduled to be arraigned this Friday, but his summons to appear in court that day was
ordered changed last week to an arrest warrant after Watson reportedly made statements threatening his
own safety, and the safety of another individual. He has been in custody at the Wood County jail since
July 20.
During Tuesday’s arraignment hearing, assistant Wood County prosecutor Gwen Howe-Gebers argued for the
$75,000 bond, noting Watson’s reported statements and the level of the offenses.
Watson’s attorney, Brad Hubble, said that this was Watson’s first involvement with the criminal justice
system, and that his family, living in Toledo, would take him in if he was released on supervised own
"My client understands the seriousness of these charges," he said.
Kelsey set the bond at $75,000, no 10 percent, and ordered that Watson have no contact with his alleged
victim, and that he live with his parents, if he is released on bond. Also, at Howe-Gebers’ suggestion,
he ordered that Watson have no contact with the Rossford Fire Department, and that all firearms are to
be removed from his home and taken to the Rossford Police Department upon his release.
The next pretrial hearing in the case is set for Sept. 14 at 9:30 a.m.

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