American Fork LDS bishopric counselor arrested, still jailed on sexual abuse charges
(KUTV) An American Fork church leader arrested earlier this week is now facing second degree felony charges of forcible sexual abuse. He was a counselor in the bishopric -- a group of men who lead a congregation -- in a local unit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“It’s really really concerning that it’s a neighbor,” said a neighbor who didn't want to be identified. She said she knows of 44-year-old Jeffrey Graton, the 2nd counselor in a bishopric in her neighborhood ward. “When it’s a member of the community like that, people don’t suspect, they, ya know, they trust individuals like that.”
Over the weekend, The American Fork Police Department said accusations of sexual abuse against 44-year-old Graton came out. That’s when officers were called to his house.
“They might have believed he was suicidal because he left his residence with a gun, but they were able to make contact with him and he voluntarily gave up the gun.” Sgt. Josh Christensen with American Fork PD said.
Christensen said Graton admitted to inappropriately touching a young girl above and below her clothing multiple times two to three years ago. It’s not clear if he was in the bishopric at that time.
Right now, according to Christensen, it was believed to be an isolated case.
“This was not a random person and a random target, they had a relationship, they knew each other,” he said.
But investigators are not completely ruling out that there could be other victims.
“Obviously there’s concern of was there anybody else. And all I can say right now is we are unaware any other incidents,” he said.
“They trust them that they are going to do good, trust them with their children and it’s just not safe, you can’t really trust anyone these days,” the neighbor said.
Graton is currently being held in the Utah County Jail on a $15,000 bond.