Minor may testify in ex-pastor’s sex abuse case

2012-02-29T01:00:00Z 2014-01-16T23:54:31Z Minor may testify in ex-pastor’s sex abuse caseBY BRENT STEWART, THE SOUTHERN The Southern
February 29, 2012 1:00 am  • 

JONESBORO — Judge Mark Boie ruled Tuesday the minor at the center of sexual abuse charges against Bill Vandergraph, an ex-pastor, may be subpoenaed to testify at trial.

Vandergraph, the 72-year-old former pastor of Full Gospel Pentecostal Church in Alto Pass and former Union County school bus driver, was arrested in July 2010. He is alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct with a 4-year-old child between January and April 2010.

With his trial set for the end of March, although Boie indicated it could be pushed back again, the judge made it clear he felt procedures and safeguards were in place to make testimony the “least traumatic as it can be, for her sake.”

“There is time to make sure this little girl is dealt with properly and taken care of,” Boie said.

Amber Samuelson of the Illinois attorney general’s office argued against the subpoena by Union County State’s Attorney Tyler Edmonds, saying testifying in the case would not be beneficial to the minor, who is now 6 years old.

The decision came in one of two issues before the court Tuesday. The other dealt with a subpoena by Vandergraph attorney Allen James for documents from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on the victim’s mother and all of her children. James also sought documentation of possible previous allegations by the child, other than those against Vandergraph.

Boie pared down the scope of James’ request, focusing solely on documents that might include other allegations of abuse. Boie was provided one document by Samuelson to review. He will determine if it is relevant to the case and issue a written order by Tuesday.

Vandergraph’s trial is set to begin March 26. He faces charges of predatory criminal sexual assault — a Class X felony, carrying a potential sentence of six to 60 years in prison — and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony, each carrying potential sentences of 14 years.




On Twitter: @BrentStewartSI


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