He was a talented reporter, a prominent newspaper editor and a Georgetown alumnus, but on his way to the top prosecutors say Jamal Watson (COL ’98) began stealing from his own newspaper.

Watson was arrested on charges of grand larceny in the fourth degree Nov. 18, after he allegedly stole over $1,000 from an internship program at the Manhattan-based New York Amsterdam News, where he was executive editor, said Jennifer Kushner, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

He was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court the following day.

“There were checks written out to summer interns, but the interns had not actually earned them because they were no longer” employed by the newspaper, Amsterdam News Publisher Elinor Tatum said.”[Watson] deposited those checks into his bank account, allegedly.”

Tatum said that she did not notice Watson behaving suspiciously prior to the alleged incident.

Tatum said that Watson, who had been the executive editor of the Amsterdam News since June 2004, is no longer employed by the publication. She said that she does not expect that Watson will return to the paper even if he is cleared of the charge.

Newsday published an article covering the charges against Watson on Nov. 23 that quoted him calling the incident a misunderstanding.

Watson is a professor of American studies at the State University of New York at Old Westbury.

As an undergraduate at Georgetown, Watson was critical of what he called a lack of faculty diversity. He said that he received threatening phone calls and letters of harassment directed towards his race in 1996. In response, former University President Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J., established the Task Force on Enhancing Inclusiveness in December 1997.

Watson has a court date set for March 7, 2006.

He declined comment when contacted by phone.

CORRECTION (December 5, 2005): The article “Alumnus Charged With Grand Larceny” (THE HOYA, Dec. 2, 2005, A1) contained several incorrectly attributed statements. Information in the article was drawn from articles in Newsday, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, the Journal-isms Web log and GU Pride’s Web site. The article also incorrectly stated that Jamal Watson confessed to stealing a co-worker’s wallet in 2001. Watson disputes the co-worker’s claim. Also, the article incorrectly stated that Watson is currently facing charges of menacing, unlawfully imprisoning and harassing his ex-girlfriend.

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