Founder of skateboarding club accused in sexual assault of minors

A founder of a skateboarding club has been charged in connection with the rape and sexual assault of minors, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Rodney Watkins, 52, a founder of “Powerfulnailya,” faces rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse unlawful contact with a minor, and related charges.

The alleged incidents occurred around 2011 and 2012 when the two victims were 11 or 12 years old. 

According to prosecutors, the victims came forward as adults.

The victims told police they interacted with Watkins at locations including POPS Skatepark at Trenton and Hazzard streets, Whitehall Skatepark at Torresdale Avenue and Wakeling Street, and Paine’s Park near the Art Museum.

Prosecutors say one victim was a member of a skateboarding team. The other was not a member but was invited to travel with the team and was also offered meals and gifts, investigators said.

The assaults allegedly happened at Watkins’ home during sleepovers and in a hotel room during a trip out-of-state. 

“My office will do everything in our authority to seek justice for these two young men who endured horrific abuse at the hands of an adult when they were children. Reporting child sexual assault is often a re-traumatizing experience; we will also do everything we can to ensure they receive appropriate support throughout the criminal prosecution process,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said. “Victims of and witnesses to sexual assault: Please know you are not alone. We at the Philadelphia DAO and our partners are here for you."

Authorities believe there could be more victims.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and Philadelphia Police Department are asking anyone with information to contact the Philadelphia Police Special Victims Unit at 215-685-3251 or call the PPD anonymous tip line at 215-686-TIPS.


For the latest local news, sports and weather, download the FOX 29 News app.


Sign up for emails from FOX 29, including our daily Good Day Digest