KSP: Transylvania police officer arrested, charged in rape investigation

Posted at 10:20 AM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 11:24:30-05

WHITLEY CITY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Transylvania police officer was arrested Wednesday in connection to a rape investigation stemming from 2020.

Dustin T. Watkins, 31, of Whitley County, has been charged with first degree rape.

Watkins was working as a deputy sheriff in McCreary County at the time of the alleged incident.

The investigation began in 2020, but the case was recently presented to the McCreary County Grand Jury, which returned an indictment warrant for Watkins' arrest.

Watkins was taken to the Whitley County Detention Center, but no further details into the case have been released.

Transylvania University released the following statement:

After a recently returned grand jury indictment, Kentucky State Police on Wednesday arrested a Transylvania employee on a charge stemming from a McCreary County investigation prior to their employment.

The individual has been employed at Transylvania as a peace officer since November 2021.

While our legal system presumes that every person accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty, the university must also act in the best interests of its community. Given the seriousness of the charge in this case and the position of trust this individual holds on campus, the employee has been suspended without pay through the judicial process. Additionally, Transylvania’s Department of Public Safety immediately suspended the individual’s status as a sworn police officer.

All Transylvania employees are required to complete a background investigation. Additionally, peace officers undergo an additional extensive vetting process managed by the Kentucky Justice Cabinet. However, as with most pre-employment screenings, only publicly available civil and criminal information and contacts are reviewed.

The appropriate university officials will conduct a thorough review of the employment screening process.

Resources are available for students and employees who may be concerned or anxious following this news. Students who feel they may need additional support are encouraged to contact the university’s Counseling Center (859-281-3682 or The Woodland Group (859-255-4864) is available to employees for counseling needs.

The investigation remains ongoing.