East St. Louis man faces charges of grabbing Belleville woman on bike trail

A 53-year-old East St. Louis man was charged Friday with two counts of aggravated battery after a Belleville woman told police a man grabbed her on a bike trail.

Keith Watkins was arrested on the charges, the Belleville Police Department said in a Facebook post.

The woman told police on Wednesday that she was riding on the MetroBikeLink trail when she was confronted by a man who blocked her path. It appeared that he had been camping in the woods along the bike path, police said.

“The male wanted a hug from the victim, and she refused. He then grabbed her buttock with his hand without her consent,” police said in the post. “The victim got away from the subject on her bike and left the area. She was not physically injured.”

The victim told police the incident occurred about one-third of a mile west of the Swansea MetroLink station in St. Clair County.

Detectives were able to find and arrest Watkins with the victim’s assistance.

Watkins’ bond was set at $30,000. He was being held in the St. Clair County Jail Saturday.

A police department spokesman could not be reached on Saturday for further comment about Watkins’ arrest.

Mike Koziatek joined the Belleville News-Democrat in 1998 as an assistant editor and is now a reporter covering the Belleville area. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and is from St. Louis.