Courts Former Commission Chairman James Graves makes bond; preliminary hearing date set | CullmanSense

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Former Commission Chairman James Graves makes bond; preliminary hearing date set

CCSO

CULLMAN - Former Cullman County Commission Chairman James Graves, arrested and charged Wednesday, May 10 with felony first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, has made bond. Cullman County Circuit Clerk Lisa McSwain confirmed Monday morning that Graves bonded out on Friday. His bond was $15,000 cash. McSwain says Graves's preliminary hearing has been set for May 22 at 9 a.m. Graves is being represented by local attorney Jason P. Knight.

Graves, 74, of Vinemont was elected chairman of the Cullman County Commission in 2008 and served until he was defeated by current Chairman Kenneth Walker in 2012.

According to the Cullman County Sheriff's Office (CCSO), Graves allegedly sexually molested a minor on more than one occasion. A statement from the CCSO said the victim came forward after the last incident took place, in which the suspect allegedly forced the victim to perform a sexual act.

When Graves was interviewed by investigators, he allegedly confirmed the allegations were true. The CCSO says that following that interview, "there was no doubt a sexual crime had been committed by the suspect."

Due to the graphic nature of this crime, no further details are being released by the CCSO.

“The protection of our young people is one of our most important responsibilities as law enforcement officers. As soon as the victim came forward our investigators interviewed the suspect and we obtained a warrant after consulting with the DA’s office due to the evidence being so overwhelming against the suspect,” said Sheriff Matt Gentry on the day of the arrest. “I would like to thank our investigators for their prompt and immediate work in this case."

Later that same day, the Cullman County Republican Party announced that its executive committee voted to remove James Graves from its ranks.

County GOP Chairman Waid Harbison released the following statement at that time:

“We are saddened to have to take action to remove James Graves from the Cullman County Republican Party Executive Committee. James has been a strong community leader in the past, and we are all surprised at the recent developments; however, his actions do not reflect the morals or beliefs of the Republican party on a local or national level. The committee moved today to ensure that we protect strong, conservative principles, and to do what was right for the local party. We will always stand up and advocate for what is right, even if it means standing up to someone within our own party.”

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