Weirton man sentenced in sex abuse case

NEW CUMBERLAND – A Weirton man convicted of sexually abusing a young girl in December 2012 must serve part of his sentence at a state facility for youthful offenders.

A jury found Tyler M. Graham, 21, guilty of three sex-related offenses in a trial in Hancock County Circuit Court in May. He was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Martin J. Gaughan on Tuesday.

Graham must serve six months to two years at the Anthony Correctional Center in Neola, W.Va., as well as a minimum of 10-20 years at another facility of the West Virginia Division of Corrections, said Hancock County Assistant Prosecutor Jack Wood.

Graham could end up serving more time if he doesn’t successfully complete the Anthony Center program, Wood said.

In total, Graham was sentenced to 25-100 years on a count of first-degree sexual assault, 10-20 years, to run consecutively, on a count of sexual abuse by a custodian, and 2-10 years, to run concurrently, on a count of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, according to Circuit Court documents.

The commitment to the Anthony Center is part of Graham’s sentence for the first-degree sexual assault charge, and the court is to be notified of Graham’s performance at the facility while he is there.

In addition to prison time, because the victim was under the age of 18, Graham must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Wood said.

Graham was arrested in February 2013 in connection with allegations that he had raped a 2-year-old girl while staying overnight at the girl’s mother’s house.

Weirton police began investigating the case after receiving a report from Weirton Medical Center of possible sexual assault involving a child. The girl’s mother had taken her to the hospital after treating her for diaper rash.

The girl contracted the human papillomavirus and required surgery, according to police and court records.

The case attracted public attention, including by the social media activist group Anonymous, after it was reported that Graham had posted bond and was released from the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville.

Graham was indicted on three felony counts by the Hancock County grand jury in April 2013.

Since Graham’s trial, his attorney, Christopher Scheetz, of Follansbee, has filed motions for Graham’s acquittal and for a new trial. Scheetz’s motions are based, in part, on allegations of juror misconduct on the part of one male juror.

Scheetz has asked Gaughan for a hearing on the motions. Graham currently is being held at the Northern Regional Jail.

The Anthony Center is a state prison for male and female offenders between the ages of 18 and 25.