Bar Nunn Man Bound Over For Trial On Sexual Abuse Of A Minor
A Bar Nunn man was bound over for trial on four counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor after his preliminary hearing in Natrona County Circuit Court on Thursday.
Joseph Crandall, 35, originally was charged with five counts of the same crime, but Judge Michael Patchen dismissed one of the counts because not enough probable cause existed to support it.
Patchen declined a request by Zak Szekely, Crandall's attorney, to lower Crandall's bond from $100,000.
A date will be set later for his arraignment in Natrona County District Court during which he will plead guilty or not guilty. If convicted, he faces a sentence of up to 200 years of imprisonment.
During the preliminary hearing, Assistant District Attorney Mike Schafer questioned Natrona County Sheriff's investigator Taylor Courtney about the events leading to the charges against Crandall.
Courtney said the case started Feb. 16 when the 15-year-old girl living in Riverton told a counselor about the alleged rapes.
The counselor notified the Wyoming Department of Family Services, which in turn contacted Courtney, he told Schafer.
On Feb. 27, investigators conducted a forensic interview of the girl at the Children's Advocacy Project in Casper, and they determined there were three separate times in June, August and most recently Jan. 17 during which the alleged assaults occurred, Courtney said.
Courtney said children have a difficult remembering dates, but they remember events, including a trip to Disney World her family took at a time when she was allegedly assaulted.
The girl said they happened in her bedroom in Crandall's house, and she gave details about what he allegedly did and where.
She also said Crandall threatened her by telling her if she called law enforcement he would blame everything on her, Courtney said.
The Sheriff's Office requested a search warrant to look for evidence including semen.
Courtney and Sgt. Aaron Shatto contacted Crandall, who came to the Hall of Justice for an interview.
Crandall told them the girl was a bad kid and a liar, and he would never do that. During the interview, Courtney contacted a deputy executing the search warrant who confirmed semen evidence as described by the girl.
Crandall was arrested at that time, Courtney said.
But Szekely disputed the timelines, saying some of the dates and who was with the girl didn't square with statements from family members.
Szekely also put Crandall's wife on the stand, and she also disputed the timelines and locations of the girl.
Courtney said later the wife's testimony Thursday was different from before.
Patchen agreed with Szekely that the allegations about the assault in January were not supported by the evidence.