Two officials with the city of Hamilton told the Glen Rose Reporter on Monday that the town’s chief of police, Tony Yocham was relieved of his duties following his arrest on a first-degree felony charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child.
Yocham, who has been Hamilton’s chief of police since January 2019 but still resides in Somvervell County, unsuccessfully ran for Somervell County sheriff as a challenger to incumbent Alan West in the Republican Primary Election.
In response to an information request from the newspaper, the Somervell County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement on Monday:
"On Tuesday September 8th, 2020, the Somervell County Sheriff’s Office received information regarding the possible sexual assault of a child which had occurred in Somervell County. Upon preliminary investigation, Anthony (Tony) Wayne Yocham was identified as a person of interest in which probable cause was found to support the commission of a criminal offense.
"The Texas Rangers were contacted to review the information gathered. A warrant of arrest was secured by the Rangers from a District Judge who set the bond of $500,000. Mr. Yocham was arrested on the charge of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child and transported to the Johnson County Jail. Mr. Yocham posted bond and was subsequently released. This is an on-going investigation being conducted by the Texas Rangers."
The Glen Rose Reporter also submitted Open Records requests to both the Johnson/Somervell County District Attorney’s Office and to the Texas Rangers/DPS information officer for this area, seeking the probable cause affidavit for more information on the allegation.
The email response from an assistant attorney with Dale Hanna’s D.A. office in Cleburne was: "Our office has no documents or specific information about this arrest." The email response from the DPS sergeant was: "At the request of the Somervell County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Rangers were asked to investigate a sexual abuse allegation in Somervell County. As a result of the investigation, Tony Yocham was arrested and booked into the Johnson County jail on a charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child. The investigation is ongoing and no additional information is currently available.
Hamilton Mayor Jim McInnis said Monday that City Administrator Ryan Polster removed Yocham as the chief of police over the weekend, after they were notified of the criminal charge being filed.
Yocham, 56, is a Somervell County resident who graduated from Glen Rose High School in 1982.
"Tony is no longer our city police chief," McInnis said. "His status is still to be determined. He was removed as chief of police. He reports to the city (administrator), and they are working on the details. We are making sure we do that right thing.
"We were told Saturday that Tony had been arrested and bailed out. We discussed putting somebody else in charge, because obviously Tony couldn’t be in charge."
McInnis said that one of Hamilton’s veteran patrol officers, Rene Silva, is "now in charge" of the police staff, which includes eight officers in all.
Monday afternoon, the city of Hamilton posted on its own Facebook page the following message: "Anthony Yocham is on unpaid administrative leave pending the grand jury determination regarding indictment or further information. Rene Silva is in charge of day to day operations."
Polster had previously confirmed that Silva has been placed "in charge of the day-to-day operations" of the Hamilton Police Department. Polster said that Silva has not been named as "interim" chief of police, and the long-term status of that position has yet to be decided.
In Texas, conviction on a charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child (a first-degree felony) carries a minimum prison term of 25 years, and a maximum of 99 years to life, with the possibility of a maximum fine of $10,000.