Youth pastor found dead

A Craig youth minister was found dead at his home Tuesday, a day after he was arrested on charges of sexual assault, the Moffat County Sheriff's Office reported late Tuesday.

According to a press release issued by the sheriff's office, authorities do not believe foul play was involved in the death of the minister, John Graler, 53. Authorities had no comment on the cause of death.

Authorities said they were called to Graler's home on Moffat County Road 35 about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. Deputies, along with personnel from Emergency Medical Services and Craig Fire/Rescue responded.

An investigation into Graler's death is ongoing and will include a toxicology report and examination of forensic evidence, according to the press release.

Graler, a youth minister at First Christian Church since 2000, was arrested Monday morning on charges of sexual assault, sexual assault on a child and sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust.

Authorities said the sheriff's office and Craig police began investigating Graler last week after allegations were made against him during the New Year's holiday weekend.

Investigators identified two female victims, both of whom were between 13 and 18 years old when the alleged assaults occurred.

After his arrest, Graler was released from custody after posting $50,000 bond.

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

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