Fleeing a Stalker in Uniform: The Sherri Watson Story
William Grigg | Pro Libertate
GENOLA — Chad Black professes to be terrified by Sherri Watson, his neighbor in Genola, Utah. A June 2011 stalking petition filed by Black claims that he considers the 48-year-old mother to be a threat and observes that “Sheriff deputies advised me to avoid” Mrs. Watson “at all costs.”
Why, then, did this supposedly intimidated man park in directly in front of the driveway to the Watson family’s home on March 29 of this year, after repeatedly driving slowly past their property?
If he has been ordered – for his “protection” – to avoid any potential contact with Mrs. Watson, why does Black make a point of driving past her home practically every day?
Black’s visits to the Watson home are not incidental occurrences; each of them is a deliberate act intended to taunt and intimidate a woman who neither harmed nor threatened him in any way.
Chad Black is employed as a police officer by the city of Orem, Utah.
For about five years, Black – with the aid of his comrades in the Santaquin PD – has waged a campaign of harassment, intimidation, and violence against Sherri Watson and her family.
The abuse suffered by the Watson family became so acute that former Genola Mayor Danny Throckmorton threatened to cancel his city’s contract with the Santaquin PD.
On the following day, Throckmorton’s barn burned to the ground in suspicious circumstances that strongly suggested arson.
After five years of unremitting conflict, stress, and anxiety, Sherri and her family are fleeing Genola, abandoning a beautiful house built by Sherri’s father.
Although they are reluctant to leave a home that they love in one of central Utah’s most scenic locations, Sherri and her husband Tom are convinced that this is necessary.
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“If we stay here,” Sherri told me during an interview in her dining room, “I think physical harm is going to be done to me or to our kids.”
“I’m literally afraid that we might get killed.”
Neither Sherri nor Tom has ever been charged with, let alone convicted of, a violent crime.
Unlike their straitlaced Mormon neighbors, the Watsons openly enjoy an occasional adult libation, and Sherri’s taste in music runs to 1980s hair metal rather than contemporary country.
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Sherri’s 40th birthday party in 2005 – which, in her words, “involved a band and a keg” — ran a bit late into the night, prompting their first encounter with Black.
“He came over at about 2:00 a.m. and told us he was just coming home from work and could barely hear an echo of the music,” recalled Sherri.
“He told us that nobody had called to complain, but that he could hear the music and wanted us to turn it down, which we did. What he told us at the time was that `You can have your music as loud as you want after 6:00 PM until 10:00 at night, and nobody can do anything about it.’”
The Watsons acted on that advice, adjusted their recreational habits, and avoided any further involvement with Black until 2009.
In January 2009, “I was walking my older son to the bus on a nearby intersection where two kids had been run over just a week earlier,” Sherri told me.
“I saw white truck coming east that was being driven well in excess of the speed limit. I was worried about [my son], but also about other kids who were waiting for the bus. All I could think of was the kids who had been killed there just a few days before. I yelled at the driver and motioned to him to slow down, but he seemed to speed up and swerve in my direction.”