Sexual Battery on a Child
Dennis Russell served the community as the Otter Creek Fire Chief, the Otter Creek Town Clerk and the Bronson Youth League President - a fact that has parents concerned about the future of the league's programs.
"It's the only thing in Bronson that has something for the kids to keep them busy and out of trouble," Sharol Sheldon, a Bronson parent, said.
According to Sheldon, the league's reputation could be tarnished after the arrest of Russell, who is charged with one count of capital sexual battery on a child under 12 years old and another charge of sexual battery against a child between the ages of 12 and 18 years old.
"The victim came forward through the school system by giving a note to a teacher asking for help," Sheriff's Lt. Evan Sullivan explained.
For help, that teacher went to the Levy County Sheriff's Office.
"There's some incidents that occurred at the residence, also at the fire department, in Bronson at several locations, and one incident happened actually out of state," Sullivan said.
One former council-member for Otter Creek said Russell has been doing an excellent job filling in as the town clerk for the past six months and she was very surprised to learn of the charges against him. One member of the Bronson Youth League said he was very surprised as well, butÂ Russell's arrest demonstrates the importance of background checks and parent involvement.
"Sometimes they take for granted the background investigations that need to be done on people," Dean Shouse said. "You're looking for so many volunteers that you need."
A background check might not have kept the 43-year-old away from the youth league because he does not have a record, but Sheldon said she is happy something was done:
"At least somebody's looking outÂ for the kids."
The Levy County Sheriff's Office asks if any child has had an inappropriate encounter with Russell to contact Investigator Joe Sabbag at (352)485-5111 ext. 271. Russell was being held without bond at the Levy County Jail and could face life in prison.
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV20 News.
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