Child sex abuse trial gets underway
By Ken Childers
After several delays, the trial of a local couple charged with child sexual abuse crimes in 2017 was scheduled to get underway this week.
At press time Tuesday, a jury trial for Mark and Mary Wattles was slated to begin Wednesday morning at the Okfuskee County Courthouse. Monday afternoon, courthouse officials tweeted that all jurors were to report for duty at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Mark Wattles was charged with two felony counts of child sexual abuse and Mary Wattles was charged with two felony counts of enabling child sexual abuse. The charges were filed on the two after allegations of sexual assault were made by two young girls who were spending the summer with the couple. The girls were 12 and 14 years old at the time of the alleged abuse.
The initial investigation began in Abilene, Texas, when the two girls returned home and confided in a family member about the alleged incidents that occurred over the summer in Okfuskee County. According to the arrest affidavit, the alleged sexual abuse between the two girls and Mark Wattles occurred several times over the summer. The affidavit states that Mary Wattles was informed of the abuse after the first incident, but told the girls it was a “bad dream” and not to say anything about it to anyone.
The couple was taken into custody in September 2017 and were scheduled to stand trial in October 2018, but the trial was rescheduled due to family health issues with the couple’s lawyer. The trial was rescheduled for May 13, 2019 but was continued twice, first to May 20 then to this week.