Youth minister under investigation

Police, sheriff's office investigating claims of sexual assault


Law enforcement officials said Thursday that a local youth minister is the subject of an investigation initiated by allegations of sexual assault and sexual assault on a child.

A press release issued Thursday by the Moffat County Sheriff's Office said John Graler, a youth minister at Craig's First Christian Church, is the subject of a joint criminal investigation being conducted by the sheriff's office and Craig police.

Graler has not been arrested or charged with any crimes.

Sheriff's office investigator K.C. Hume said he could not comment on many aspects of the case because it is an ongoing investigation. The investigation was prompted after a report was made to authorities during the weekend.

According to police reports from Saturday, a person visited the police department to speak with an officer in reference to child molestation charges.

In a statement released to the Daily Press on Thursday, attributed to First Christian Church's board of elders, the church is cooperating with police and "completing its own review of these claims."

"The board is very concerned by these revelations and the harm these actions bring to all involved," the church's statement reads. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to any possible victims, their families, (and) all others concerned and touched by these events."

Church spokesman Doug Field said Thursday morning that the church would have no other comment on the investigation.

Deputies went to Graler's home twice on Wednesday, according to sheriff's reports. Hume said deputies first went to the home Wednesday morning on a missing person/welfare check.

A sheriff's report said deputies returned to the home at about 6:10 p.m. on a call described as a warrant. Hume had no comment on the second trip to the home.

Graler has been a youth minister at First Christian Church since 2000, according to the church's Web site. He also chaperoned 20 Craig teenagers to New Orleans in March to help work on houses in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

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