CUYAHOGA FALLS — A former Cuyahoga Falls police officer has been charged with first-degree felony rape in connection with an alleged incident in June.
Lewis Watson, 25, of Cuyahoga Falls, was arraigned on Tuesday, the same day the charge was filed, according to Stow Municipal Court records. He was then released from Summit County Jail on a personal bond, according to court records.
On June 21, Cuyahoga Falls police responded to a report of a sexual assault at an East Hunters Lake Drive apartment and made contact with the unidentified victim outside, according to a department press release issued Friday.
Police said they found an off-duty Cuyahoga Falls police officer, who Police Chief Jack Davis identified Friday as Watson, at the apartment. The investigation was immediately turned over to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the officer was placed on administrative leave that day, the release said.
Additional details were not immediately available Friday, but Watson’s attorney said he will be fighting the charge.
"It’s very, very early on in the case, obviously," said Jeff Laybourne, Watson’s attorney. "But it’s a tragic situation for this young man. He’s got no record and has lived an exemplary life, but he fully disputes the allegations and looks forward to clearing his name as the case moves forward."
Laybourne acknowledged that it is unusual for someone to be released on a personal bond while facing such a serious charge, but added that "we made a presentation to Judge [Kim] Hoover and he found it appropriate, and I agree with the decision for a personal recognizance bond."
Laybourne declined further comment.
Watson worked for the city from Feb. 20 until June 27, when he resigned, according to the release.
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JeffSaunders_RP.