A judge has denied a request for a lower bond by a former Kentucky National Guardsman accused of child molestation, saying the charges are too serious.
Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued the ruling Friday in the case of Craig S. Evans, 56, who sought a reduction of his $100,000 cash bond on charges that he sexually abused a child in May on multiple occasions. Shepherd cited the seriousness of the charges Evans faces — two counts of first-degree sodomy of a victim less than 12 years of age, a Class A felony, and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a victim under 12, a Class C felony.
“It’s the court’s finding that the bond is commensurate with the seriousness of the charged offenses and his anticipated conduct pending trial,” Shepherd wrote. Evans’ “inability to afford his current bond and lack of criminal history are not enough to sway the court’s balance of factors …”
Evans’ defense attorney, Thomas Lyons, attempted to sway the court toward a bond reduction by citing Evans’ lengthy military service and lack of a criminal past. He told the judge that Evans reached the rank of chief warrant officer with the Kentucky National Guard, ending his career after 36 years when the recent allegations of sexual misconduct arose. Lyons asked that his client's bond be reduced to $10,000.
“I believe that is a substantial incentive to be here and not to flee,” Lyons said. “He has no passport. He had a military passport, but it has expired.”
However, prosecutors argued similar points in making the case that Evans' bond should not be reduced.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland told the court that because of Evans’ age, military background and the severity of the charges, he may possess firearms and be capable of fleeing.
“This is a case in which the charges are extremely serious,” Cleveland said. “Self-harm should not be disregarded; neither should leaving the jurisdiction be disregarded.”
Shepherd said the case is a priority on his docket and he encouraged counsel to expedite court proceedings in working toward a trial in the coming months.
Few details have been released due to the nature of the case.
Cleveland only revealed that the child initially disclosed the alleged abuse from May 26 and May 27 to a family member, who then contacted Kentucky State Police. Troopers investigated the case and found the “disclosure was consistent” before forwarding the case to the prosecutor’s office, Cleveland said.
Evans was indicted by a grand jury July 9. He was taken into custody at the Franklin County Regional Jail, where he remains.
Evans could face up to life in prison if convicted.