ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC)- Kali Watkins has been found not guilty.
Prosecutors claimed 42-year-old Kali Watkins attacked a 14-year-old student in a locker room at Webster Schroeder High School. He was charged with rape.
The prosecution and defense finished their closing arguments late Thursday afternoon. Deliberations began Friday morning.
One juror was dismissed after she discussed the case with someone outside of the courtroom. But, deliberations did continue a short time later.
The jury returned a verdict of ‘ Not Guilty’ Monday morning.
Watkins’ attorney Jon Getz said he believed in his innocence from the beginning. He said the rape allegations should have never reached a courtroom.
“I have very rarely gone on the record and said someone is factually innocent,” said Getz. “I believe this is the second time I have done that.”
Just hours after the verdict Watkins didn’t say a word. Getz spoke for his client. He said when the former Webster coach was accused of rape he tried to cooperate from the beginning.
“Kali Watkins immediately started providing information to help the police to prove his innocence,” said Getz. “That seems to be ignored.”
Getz said there was a lack of evidence and effort to find the truth. Throughout the trial he says prosecution relied on emotions.
“We are thankful that those 12 jurors paid attention to the actual evidence and not the emotions,” said Getz.
Because of the accusations he says Watkins has lost time with his children, his job, and his reputation.
“During this time he has gone through something that I don’t think anyone can imagine being wrongfully accused of a heinous crime,” said Getz.
“We are going to be sitting down with Kali Watkins and reviewing everything that happened in this wrongful prosecution,” said Lori Vahey, part of Watkins’ defense team. “We are going to advise him of his rights and hold everyone responsible accountable.”
We reached out to the Webster Central School District, the Webster Police Department, and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office for comment. We are still waiting for a response.