Jury: Abuser guilty

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By AMY LINDBLOM

A Tuolumne man found guilty yesterday of kidnapping and sexually abusing a woman could face 24 years to life in prison when he is sentenced July 13.

A jury of seven women and five men found Albert George Graf, 38, guilty of seven criminal counts, from battery and rape to kidnap, all involving the same victim his wife, Sara.

Sara Graf was not in court when the verdicts were read, but her testimony during the four-day trial was pivotal in convincing jurors of Albert Graf's guilt, Tuolumne County Deputy District Attorney Jim Newkirk said.

"She obviously had a long history of being a victim of domestic violence, and even tried to minimize his conduct in the last trial, and he was still convicted then," Newkirk said. "But she has come a long way to finally be able to tell the truth about the violence she has been subjected to in 14 years of marriage."

On Jan. 10, 2002, Albert Graf was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon a screwdriver as well as domestic violence and making criminal threats. Sara Graf was also the victim in that case. Albert Graf was sentenced to nine months in the county jail and ordered to attend a 52-week domestic-violence prevention class.

But after his jail release, he failed to attend classes and was rearrested for violating terms of his probation and was sentenced to 60 days in the county jail. He was released in November 2002.

While her husband was in jail, Sara Graf started taking classes for victims of domestic violence at the Mountain Women's Resource Center. Through these classes, Sara Graf said in an earlier interview, she learned to stand up to her husband.

In January this year, she obtained a restraining order against him and sought full custody of the couple's three children. At the time, she and the children were living in a Sonora area shelter home.

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The Union Democrat
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