was a former LDS bishop and optometrist in southwest Virginia; accused of sexual abuse; convicted; 2020: sentenced in Virginia to prison for five years for aggravated sexual battery of a minor; 2024: registered sex offender; lives in Richmond, Virginia

Case Summary

Charles Tyhurst was a practicing optometrist in the Lebanon, Virginia area as of 1979. His license expired at the end of 2018.

He was called as bishop of the Bristol Ward of the Mormon church in late 1986 or early 1987. He was still serving as bishop as of October 1990. (Bristol, Virginia is a twin city of Bristol, Tennessee – it is the same city, straddling the TN/VA state line.) He was no longer bishop as of August 1992.

In 2019, Tyhurst was arrested. He was sentenced in 2020 to prison for five years for aggravated sexual battery of a minor.

Related criminal case: Washington County Circuit Court case number CR1900037700.

A former acquaintance of Tyhurst told FLOODLIT, “Charles W. Tyhurst was my childhood bishop. He always creeped me out. He was overly affectionate and gave all the young girls pet names in the ward. I caught him staring at me many times. When I was 11, I had to ‘confess’ the sexual abuse by a family member to him and it was extra traumatizing. He told me to never tell anyone else. Everything got swept under the rug.”

Tyhurst became a licensed pilot through the Federal Aviation Administration in 2012.

Sources
  1. 'A sure loser'
    view source details | 26 Mar 1987 | Bristol Herald Courier
  2. 'Prodigal Son' to be screened at Bristol church
    view source details | 27 Oct 1990 | Bristol Herald Courier
  3. Lebanon optometrist sentenced to 5 years for aggravated sexual battery
    view source details | 3 Feb 2020 | Super Talk WFHG FM 92.9
  4. Lebanon optometrist pleads guilty to child sex crime
    view source details | 4 Feb 2020 | WCYB
  5. CHARLES WESLEY TYHURST - Offender #101436
    view source details | 24 Jan 2024 | Virginia State Police
  6. Virginia Department of Health Professions License Lookup
    view source details | 24 Jan 2024 | Virginia Department of Health Professions
  7. Virginia Department of Health Professions License Lookup
    view source details | 24 Jan 2024 | Virginia Department of Health Professions
Sources excerpts
  • 'A sure loser'
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Bristol Herald Courier
    Date published/accessed: 26 Mar 1987
    archive 1 | archive 2

    [letter to the newspaper by Tyhurst]

    Mr. Tyhurst is bishop of the Bristol Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • back to online sources list
    'Prodigal Son' to be screened at Bristol church
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Bristol Herald Courier
    Date published/accessed: 27 Oct 1990
    archive 1 | archive 2

    "... according to Bishop Charles W. Tyhurst, local lay leader of the LDS Church."

  • back to online sources list
    Lebanon optometrist sentenced to 5 years for aggravated sexual battery
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Super Talk WFHG FM 92.9
    Date published/accessed: 3 Feb 2020
    archive 1 | archive 2

    A Russell County, Virginia optometrist who had a practice based in Lebanon for decades has pleaded guilty to sex crimes.

    According to information found in Washington County, Virginia Circuit Court, Charles Tyhurst, 73, will serve five years in prison on one count of aggravated sexual battery after a judge suspended 15 of the recommended 20-year sentence. A second count of the same charge was dropped during the proceedings.

    The report said that the incident took place in the early 1990s and involved a child under the age of 13. Information from the Virginia Board of Optometry says Tyhurst’s license expired in 2018.

  • back to online sources list
    Lebanon optometrist pleads guilty to child sex crime
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: WCYB
    Date published/accessed: 4 Feb 2020
    archive 1 | archive 2

    LEBANON, Va. — A Lebanon optometrist who admitted to a child sex crime will go to prison for five years.

    Seventy-three-year-old Charles Tyhurst has pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery. The charge was brought in Washington County, Virginia.

    Prosecutors say it involved an incident in 1993 and involved a child under the age of 13.

    Originally, two charges were filed, but one was dropped.

    Tyhurst pleaded guilty to the second.

  • back to online sources list
    CHARLES WESLEY TYHURST - Offender #101436
    Source type: Registered sex offender record
    Publisher: Virginia State Police
    Date published/accessed: 24 Jan 2024
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Registration Number:
    101436
    Status:
    Incarcerated
    Age:
    76
    Tier:
    3
    Lifetime Registration:
    Yes
    Reg. Renewed:
    Initial Registration Start Date:
    11/05/2019
    Sex:
    MALE
    Race:
    WHITE
    Hair:
    GRAY OR PARTIALLY GRAY
    Height:
    5' 0"
    Weight:
    197 lbs
    Eyes:
    HAZEL

  • back to online sources list
    Virginia Department of Health Professions License Lookup
    Source type: Website
    Publisher: Virginia Department of Health Professions
    Date published/accessed: 24 Jan 2024
    archive 1 | archive 2

    License Information
    License Number 0601000826
    Occupation Optometrist-Non TPA
    Name Charles W Tyhurst
    Address Lebanon, VA 24266
    Initial License Date 08/03/1977
    Expire Date 12/31/2005
    License Status Expired
    Additional Public Information* No

  • back to online sources list
    Virginia Department of Health Professions License Lookup
    Source type: Website
    Publisher: Virginia Department of Health Professions
    Date published/accessed: 24 Jan 2024
    archive 1 | archive 2

    License Number 0618000138
    Occupation Optometrist-TPA Certified
    Name Charles W Tyhurst
    Address Lebanon, VA 24266
    Initial License Date 07/29/1991
    Expire Date 12/31/2018
    License Status Expired
    Additional Public Information* No

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