Tahlequah Daily Press

January 14, 2013

Man accused of lewd acts set for trial

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A Tahlequah man who has been in jail since last April asked a judge last week to send his case to jury trial.

Christopher Joe Yocum, 28, is facing two counts of lewd or indecent acts to a child. He was arrested last year after an investigation by Northeastern State University police.

Yocum appeared with his attorney, Angela Jones, in front of District Judge Darrell Shepherd last week and asked for the case to be placed on an upcoming trial docket.

Yocum was accused of placing a 9-year-old girl’s hand on his genitals in a lewd manner on two different occasions. According to police, the Department of Human Services received an anonymous tip about the accusations, which allegedly occurred on NSU property.

Yocum first denied to police that he’d sexually abused the girl, according to reports, but later admitted he had committed the acts twice, both while the girl was asleep. Yocum reportedly said he was under the influence of alcohol and didn’t recall what he had done.

During one of the supposed contacts, the victim awoke and Yocum allegedly told her not to tell anyone what he was doing. Police said Yocum made a written statement and said he withheld information out of “fear, shame, and guilt.” He also apologized for hurting and lying to those involved in the case, according to police.

Yocum pleaded not guilty during his district court arraignment and was tentatively set for trial beginning Jan. 28 at 9 a.m.