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Police make arrest in Liberty Park sex assault

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Aug. 23, 2011 at 6:28 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — A man accused of grabbing and sexually assaulting a child at Liberty Park has been arrested.

Salt Lake police announced Tuesday that Brandon Elder, 26, was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of sex abuse of a child.

On Monday, Elder was allegedly hiding in the bushes near an area of the park where children play in the water. He grabbed a child and began sexually assaulting the victim before other bystanders intervened, police said.

According to a Salt Lake County Jail report, Elder grabbed a 5-year-old girl by the head and pulled her toward him.

"(Elder) disposed of his clothing to avoid being discovered," the report states.

The man was last seen riding off on a bicycle. He was arrested about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday based on tips received by detectives.

City crews spent the day Tuesday trimming bushes at the park to help prevent a similar incident from happening in the future.

"You can see through the bushes now," said Kimberly Bronson, who regularly brings her children to the park to play.

Still, Bronson says she won't let her kids out of her sight. "There's a lot of people out there that will mess with our children, so you have to stay right by your children," she said.

Utah state court records show Elder was convicted of misdemeanor attempted sexual battery in 2009. He received a suspended jail sentence and was ordered to a treatment center. He later had a warrant issued for his arrest for failing to meet the conditions of his sentence and spent time in jail, court records indicate.

There was a competency hearing as part of that case.

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Written by Pat Reavy with contributions from Sandra Yi.

Pat Reavy

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