Youth minister arrested

District attorney reviewing felony charges against John Graler

A local youth minister was arrested Monday morning in Craig on allegations that he sexually assaulted two females between 13 and 18 years old.

John Graler, 53, a youth minister at First Christian Church, is in custody at Moffat County Jail. He faces possible charges of sexual assault, sexual assault on a child and sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust, all of which are felonies.

The case has been forwarded to the 14th Judicial Distr-

ict Attorney's Office for review of formal charges, said K.C. Hume, an investigator with the Moffat County Sheriff's Office.

Because the charges against Graler are considered violent offenses, he is being held on a no bond arrest warrant, meaning he'll have to appear before a judge, who will set a bail amount.

Graler's arrest stems from a joint investigation by the Moffat County Sheriff's Office and the Craig Police Department. The probe began after allegations were made against Graler during the New Year'sS holiday weekend.

According to a press release from the two agencies, two female victims have been identified. The victims were between the 13 and 18 years old when the alleged assaults occurred.

Hume said several individuals have provided investigators with information relative to the investigation. The investigator said he could not comment on many aspects of the case because it is an on-going investigation.

District attorney Bonnie Roesink said there is no timetable for when her office might file charges against Graler or when his bail appearance before a judge would take place.

First Christian Church spokesman Doug Field could not be reached for comment. Last week, the church released a statement regarding the investigation. It said that the church is "very concerned by the allegations," and that it is cooperating with investigators.

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.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact police department detectives Ken Johnson and Jen Kenney, or sheriff's office investigator Jeremy Ashton.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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