April O'Neil / news@WHMI.com

Charges have been brought against a Milford man for criminal sexual conduct and the alleged rape of a woman on the campus of Western Michigan University in 2013.

Last week, 29-year-old Caleb James Watson of Milford was arraigned by Judge Hemmingway in the 8th District Court in Kalamazoo for the rape of a freshman at WMU in the fall of 2013.

Watson is charged with 4 counts of 1st degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, and 1 count of Assault with Intent to Commit Penetration.

According to a press release from the Michigan Department of the Attorney General, the assault occurred nearly 10 years ago in the victim’s on-campus dorm room. The female victim was 18 years old at the time of the assault, and her identity has not been released.

It is alleged that Watson used force or coercion to frighten and overpower the victim, which resulted in rape and sexual assault. The incident resulted in both physical injury and long-term mental anguish to the victim, according to the press release.

Watson, then aged 20, was an acquaintance of the victim. They reportedly lived in the same dorm building at the time of the incident.

“The work of our department, in collaboration with the SAKI units in Kalamazoo and elsewhere, continues to show sexual assault survivors that justice is still a viable pursuit, even ten years on,” said Attorney General, Dana Nessel. “Our hope and goal is that this pursuit leads to aid the healing process for victims. Investigations, charges, convictions; these are important elements of a broader process of securing justice and helping victims to recover.”

The charges against Watson were the result of the investigative efforts from a few agencies, including the Kalamazoo County Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) which is a collaborative project of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office, and the YWCA of Kalamazoo.

“This case exemplifies the long-term trauma that can stay with the victims of sexual assault,” said Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting. “Victims often continue to deal with the impact of sexual assault for years, and for some victims it becomes a life-long struggle. Helping those victims obtain a sense of justice, even years after their assault happened can be very important for their recovery.”

Watson was arrested by the Michigan State Police Fugitive team in Livingston County on April 25, 2023. If convicted, he faces a maximum punishment of life in prison.

Watson’s bond was set at $250,000 cash or surety. If he is able to post bond, he will be supervised by the Office of Community Corrections.

A probable cause conference will be held in court on May 10.