Man Arrested for Sexually Assaulting 13 Women He Targeted Via Instagram; More Victims Sought

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Police Seek Additional Victims After Man Accused of 13 Sexual Assaults Via Instagram

Police Seek Additional Victims After Man Accused of 13 Sexual Assaults Via Instagram

Dec 1, 2022

A man alleged to have sexually assaulted at least 13 women and girls has been arrested by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies. Michael Neal Watson Jr., 21, is accused of sexually assaulting nine women and four female minors at gunpoint, according to an ABC 7 Los Angeles report. During some of the assaults, Watson allegedly stole victims’ phones and used their contacts lists to locate more potential targets.

Watson is believed to have targeted women on Instagram over an estimated two-year period, according to authorities.

“The first incident was reported in Walnut on February 2, 2021, when Watson allegedly raped a woman he met on Instagram. The man also stole the cellphones of two women who were at the home before fleeing in a dark gray sedan, according to authorities,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Investigators confirmed that DNA evidence linked Watson to sexual assaults which occurred in:

  • Los Angeles
  • East Los Angeles
  • Inglewood

Watson would allegedly force the victims to provide their usernames and passcodes in order to access their phones. From there, the suspect would reportedly find more victims to sexually assault and rob.

ABC 7 reported that Watson contacted some of the victims with “promises of fame” and resorted to extortion with others.

“Every victim had a different angle,” Sergeant Joe Ramos of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. “One of them was to become a superstar on the internet, a model. Mr. Watson was very savvy depending on who he was talking to. And if he had pictures of victims on their cell phone, some nude pictures, he would extort them. Whatever information he was able to get from a victim he used that to lure them in.”

Watson was arrested in the Antelope Valley in November and currently remains in custody with bail set at $1.7 million. The arrest was the result of a multiagency investigation which included the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, and Inglewood Police, according to a report from BuzzFeed News. The sexual assault suspect’s next court appearance is scheduled for January.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Watson has been charged with 16 felony counts, including:

  • Aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14
  • Three counts of forcible rape
  • One count of assault with a deadly weapon
  • Four counts of attempted extortion
  • One count of grand theft auto

Detectives are reportedly convinced that Watson has victimized additional women and girls who have yet to be identified.

“Based on the nature of the offenses, detectives believe there may be additional unidentified victims,” an LAPD official said, according to BuzzFeed.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department issued a statement calling on the public to assist in locating any additional sexual assault victims of Michael Neal Watson Jr.

Anyone with information about the ongoing investigation or a sex crime committed by Watson is urged to contact the L.A. County Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau at 877-710-5273 or via email.

California AB 2777 Opens Three-Year Window for Sexual Assault Civil Claims

California’s Assembly Bill 2777 (AB 2777) legislation affords survivors of sexual assault with the opportunity to secure justice and financial compensation through the civil claims process.

AB 2777 revives sexual assault claims seeking to recover financial damages as a result of a crime which occurred on or after January 1, 2009. Accordingly, from January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2026, any adult survivor of sexual assault may file a civil claim seeking to recover financial compensation against a perpetrator.

Some of the damages that may be pursued and recovered through an AB 2777 sexual assault civil claim include:

  • Emotional trauma
  • Pain and suffering
  • Psychological harm
  • Diminished earning capacity or lost wages
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Hospital expenses – past and future
  • Medical care costs – past and future
  • Counseling or therapy expenses – past and future
  • Punitive damages

Dordulian Law Group (DLG), a top-rated, full-service Los Angeles-area sexual assault firm, is currently accepting civil claims on behalf of survivors under AB 2777. To speak with one of our dedicated and proven sexual assault attorneys through a free, confidential, and no obligation consultation to discuss your case, contact us today at 818-322-4056.

For additional information on how AB 2777 may offer you a chance at securing justice for a past sexual assault, please visit our recent blog.

About DLG’s Los Angeles, California, Sexual Assault Lawyers

DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County who successfully secured life sentences against some of our community’s most dangerous sexual predators.

Dordulian created DLG’s SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) in an effort to provide survivors with a unique form of all-encompassing representation which includes a dedicated support network:

  • Litigation department: Led by Dordulian, DLG’s Sex Crimes Division features experienced and skilled attorneys who have helped countless victims secure justice and maximum financial damages awards for their claims
  • Investigative department: Our in-house Chief Investigator, Moses Castillo, is a retired LAPD sex crimes detective with nearly 30 years of experience helping solve some of the area’s most high-profile cases.
  • Victim advocate: A licensed and nationally accredited victim advocate serves survivors in-house.
  • Mental health advocate: An in-house clinical therapist with over 15 years of experience offers 24/7 support for survivors.

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

DLG’s SAJE Team and Sex Crimes Division have helped clients secure more than $100,000,000.00 in settlements and verdicts with a consistent 98% winning record. To learn more about your legal rights following a sexual assault incident, contact a member of our team today at 818-322-4056.

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