Columbia man guilty of sex abuse

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Joshua Graves

A Columbia man was found guilty Friday of one count of criminal sexual abuse of a young girl following a jury trial in Monroe County.

The jury deliberated for seven hours before returning with the guilty verdict on Count I and a not guilty verdict on Count II in the case against 37-year-old Joshua L. Graves.

Court information states that on Sept. 3, 2017, Graves committed an act of sexual conduct with a female victim who was under the age of 13 at the time of the offense. The incident took place in Columbia and was investigated by the Columbia Police Department.

Graves faces a sentence of three to seven years in prison and must register as a sex offender.

“I’d like to thank the Columbia Police Department, and in particular officer John Simon, who took the initial report in this case, and detectives Karla Heine, Brian Etherton and Kelly Bramlett for their work in the case,” said Monroe County State’s Attorney Chris Hitzemann.

Hitzemann, who prosecuted the case, also said he was happy for the victim.

“This case was set for trial back in March, but was continued when the defendant allegedly chased down the car driving the victim to court, resulting in charges of witness harassment,” Hitzemann said. “I’m so happy that our jury reached a verdict so our victim does not have to live through this nightmare again.”

The additional charge of witness harassment against Graves is still pending in court, Hitzemann said.

 This was the second jury trial in Monroe County this week involving sex crimes. On Wednesday, a jury found 55-year-old Glenn P. Ward of Missouri guilty on 15 counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child following a three-day trial. For more on that case, click here.

“Tough week for sex offenders and a great week for victims of sex abuse here in Monroe County,” Hitzemann said.

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