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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Massena man pleads not guilty to rape count in Franklin County Court

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MALONE - A Massena man was arraigned in Franklin County Court earlier this week on an indictment alleging that he had sex with an underage female this past summer in the town of Harrietstown.

Jewell Watkins Sr., 42, was indicted Nov. 1 on third-degree rape, another sex charge and endangering the welfare of a child counts. He pleaded not guilty and was sent back to the Franklin County Jail with bail set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond.

District Attorney Derek Champagne said state police arrested Watkins after noticing suspicious activity in a vehicle parked at the corner of state Routes 3 and 30 in Harrietstown on the night of June 27. He said the arrest was made after determing the female was under 17 years of age.

Mr. Champagne said there were no allegations of force.

In other recent county court business before Judge Robert G. Main Jr.:

■ Eric Duprey, 26, of Tupper Lake was arraigned on an indictment charging him with restraining and sexually assaulting a Sunmount staff member on May 23. He is a Sunmount client.

He was indicted on first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree unlawful imprisonment charges. He was remanded to the Franklin County Jail in lieu of $500 bail.

A Nov. 29 hearing will determine if Duprey is fit for trial. Mr. Champagne said Duprey was declared unfit in a separate sexual assault case from Clinton County.

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