Detectives arrested a Lehi man on Monday after he reportedly visited an elementary school in American Fork before Halloween.
Paul Bryant, 51, was booked into the Utah County Jail under investigation of four counts of violating conditions and restrictions of the Utah Sex Offender Registry, all class A misdemeanors.
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office published a press release stating Bryant reportedly visited an American Fork elementary school four times between October 28 and 31.
“He was there to visit a staff member but Bryant never signed in at the office,” the statement reported. “On at least one of those visits he had with him a service dog, and on at least one of those visits he was in the school during lunch time as children would have been in the halls.”
Bryant also reportedly wore a Halloween costume in a picture with an elementary school staff member. Investigators learned he also reportedly brought treats for children in one classroom.
In 2015, he was charged with 15 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, all first-degree felonies, as well as seven class A misdemeanors of sexual battery.
Charges state Bryant had sexually assaulted a boy for seven years when the child was between the ages of 6 and 13. The assaults began in 1998 and continued until 2005.
Then between 2003 and 2007, he also sexually assaulted a girl when she was between 10 and 13 years old.
During the investigation, another girl reported Bryant had molested her when she was 6 years old and he was 14 years old.
The press release stated Bryant had “told some victims he worked for the FBI, that he would make their friends disappear or he would kill them if they told anyone what he did.”
Bryant accepted a plea deal in 2016 and pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
He never served prison time for the charges, although he spent two years in jail during the criminal case proceedings.
Bryant had a lifetime requirement to register on the Utah Sex Offender Registry, which clearly states one of the protected areas includes public or private schools.
“He later successfully completed probation on July 11, 2019, but his requirement to be on the Utah Sex Offender Registry remains in place,” the press release stated.
Bryant posted bail and released from jail shortly after his arrest earlier this week.
It was during Elder Dale G. Renlund’s first year as a student at Johns Hopkins Hospital when he had an idea. He worked constantly and on Sundays, which meant he was only able to attend church half of the time. If he hurried with work that Sunday, he could go to church. But, if he was slower, his wife and daughter would have already left with the family’s single car, and he could take a nap.
But once he got on the couch, he couldn’t sleep.
“I had always loved going to church,” Dale G. Renlund said to a group of Brigham Young University students Tuesday morning. “I had always felt a burning testimony of Christ’s living reality. But on that day, the intensity wasn’t there.”
Dale G. Renlund, a member of the Quorum of the Twelves Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave a dual devotional Tuesday at BYU with his wife, Ruth L. Renlund, a former attorney.
In Dale G. Renlund’s address, “Experience God’s Love,” he said that just like with receptors in the body, students’ receptors can become dull to God’s love. The problem, he said, isn’t a lack of love from God and Jesus Christ.
“The problem is with your receptors for Their love,” he said. “If you have dysfunction of your receptors for God’s love, you can lose your way and succumb to dangers, such as hopelessness, helplessness and loneliness.”
Without being able to sense God’s love and concern, he said people lose power, stability and direction. The loss happens over time, like what happened to him. In medical school, he’d wake up, say a prayer and then go to work. But then that stopped.
“I had allowed my receptors for God’s love to become dull, so that the things of the Spirit were less urgent and less important,” he said.
That one Sunday, he got off the couch, knelt and prayed for help. Dale G. Renlund said he created a plan to change and began bringing a Book of Mormon to the hospital, devoted himself to not missing a chance to take the sacrament and added praying to his daily to do list.
The inability to feel God and Christ’s love can also be because of physical and mental illness, he said. He urged those with clinical anxiety and depression to pursue professional help, citing a Book of Mormon story where Moroni asked if God would help if they didn’t use what was already provided to them.
“Prayers in this situation may seem somewhat insincere to God as they are manifestations of faith without works,” he said.
He urged the crowd to read the Book of Mormon, repent and take the sacrament.
Dale G. Renlund preceded his wife’s address, “The Power to Change.” In it, Ruth L. Renlund asked students to consider their spiritual superpowers.
“You can have a superpower greater than any fictional power ever conceived,” she said. “You can have God’s power in your life, the ultimate, very real superpower.”
That power, she said, comes from priesthood covenants and taking on Christ’s attributes.
“God’s power, the power of godliness is the power to change,” she said. “With God’s help, we can change from women and men driven by carnal desires and selfish concerns to holy women and holy men, prepared to enter the kingdom of God.”
Interstate 15 in Lehi was closed in both directions for about nine hours Saturday after a crash created a potentially hazardous situation.
“It was pretty much worse case on everything,” said Sgt. Brady Zaugg with the Utah Highway Patrol.
I-15 was closed in both directions around mile marker 282 stating at about 10:45 a.m. Saturday after a liquid petroleum tanker crashed, according to Zaugg.
Southbound lanes reopened around 7:30 p.m., and northbound traffic opened at about 8:20 p.m., according to the Utah Department of Transportation.
Southbound traffic was reopened once the butane was removed. Evacuations to nearby residents were also lifted at that time. Zaugg said northbound I-15 remained closed until the vehicle was completely removed.
The tanker, which Zaugg said was carrying butane, was leaking.
"We did want to keep people away as a precaution," Zaugg said. "So thankfully it was a very, very slow leak."
Both directions were closed as a precaution because the crash posed an explosion hazard.
No one was injured in the crash. The cause was not known, as of 7:45 p.m. Saturday.
Estimated times for when the roadway would open were pushed back throughout the day, going from 12:30 p.m., according to the Utah Department of Transportation, to 3:30 p.m. and beyond.
“With something like this, it could be a while,” Zaugg said earlier in the day.
The delays were caused by the situations the crash presented and the process of transferring the butane from one vehicle to another. Zaugg said the tanker had rolled in a precarious position and started leaking. Another truck from the same company was needed, and its equipment wasn’t designed to transfer that much liquid at a time.
“It wasn’t exactly a normal process,” Zaugg said.
The process took four hours, twice as long as expected.
Southbound vehicles was diverted off the interstate at the State Route 92 exit. Northbound traffic was diverted off the interstate at Lehi Main Street. From there, vehicles could take State Street to 2100 North to travel back onto I-15. The 2100 North southbound on ramp was closed.
UDOT monitored traffic signals in Lehi to help keep traffic moving through the detoured area.
Residents who lived within a quarter mile of the crash were notified that they needed to evacuate, according to Cameron Boyle, the public information officer for Lehi. That evacuation order included the Brookstone Apartments, but no homes Boyle was aware of.
"Anyone who is within that radius may have received a notification or a phone call," Boyle said.
Evacuees were directed to a church at 700 W. 2630 North in Lehi.
Boyle suggested for travelers in the area to avoid I-15 around the closure, westbound Main Street in Lehi and southbound State Street in Lehi as the closure continued.
Zaugg said some vehicles had gone around the closures to travel southbound on I-15. When caught by officials, Zaugg said the drivers were likely issued citations.
BYU football beat writer Jared Lloyd evaluates the performance of every position group and the coaches from Saturday’s BYU-SDSU game at SDCCU Stadium:
Zach Wilson made some nice throws and gained a lot of yards, but the three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble) and the inability to get the Cougars into the end zone at all were unacceptable to him and everyone else.
Lopini Katoa made a few nice plays in the pass game but for the most part San Diego State was able to neutralize the Cougar rushing attack by filling the gaps. This group was called on to do a lot of blocking with limited success.
The Cougars weren’t terrible against the Aztec blitz packages, officially giving up just two sacks and five total tackles for a loss. The problem was that they couldn’t open up holes in the run game now keep SDSU from forcing hurried throws.
The Cougars showed a glaring weakness in this area in this game, the inability to consistently win one-on-one battles on the edges. Gunner Romney made a great catch on a deep ball but particularly near the end zone, it was the Aztec defenders who made all the plays.
The Cougars did fairly well up front, holding the talented San Diego State running backs to just 97 total yards on the ground. BYU generally had at least four guys up on the line and that limited the holes for the Aztecs.
The linebackers made a lot of tackles as Isaiah Kaufusi, Payton Wilgar and Kavika Fonua combined for 23 stops to lead the Cougars. They were disappointed in the missed opportunities to force momentum-shifting turnovers.
The BYU secondary held the Aztecs to 172 yards passing, more than half of which came on three plays. San Diego State attacked D’Angelo Mandell and Isaiah Herron on most of the pass plays and were able to get some key third-down conversions.
The Cougar special teams had a terrible game, missing two short field goal attempts and setting up the only San Diego State touchdown with a 30-yard punt. The only nice play was Aleva Hifo’s early 19-yard punt return but that wasn’t enough to improve the marks much.
Fans will blame Kalani Sitake and his staff for the poor offensive performance but the reality is there were a lot of plays there to be made. The Cougar players failed to execute, particularly in the red zone, but the coaches can only do so much. The defensive performance overall was pretty good.
A 23-year-old male was killed in Payson late Thursday night after the car he was driving crashed into a power pole, according to a Payson City Police Department press release.
Payson Fire and Rescue responded to reports of an accident and extricated the driver from the “severely damaged” vehicle. The man was transported to Mountain View Hospital and died from his injuries shortly after, the press release says.
Police say there is no indication that impairment played a role in the accident, but preliminary observations indicate that speed was a factor.
Payson police are not releasing the man’s identity pending notification of his family.
A 23-year-old male passenger was in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Police did not say whether he was injured.
The Utah County Accident Reconstruction team also responded to the accident, which occurred near 800 S. Main St. at around 11:59 p.m., the press release says.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been featured in media throughout the world on it stance concerning the care and respect of refugees.
On Monday the First Presidency issued a statement on refugees following recent media inquiries, according to a church press release.
“As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are deeply committed to living the two great commandments to love God and love our neighbor,” the First Presidency statement said. “We feel tremendous joy in helping all of God’s children, no matter where they may live in this world.”
The First Presidency continues, “It is therefore with great concern and compassion that we observe the plight of more than 70 million people around the world who have fled their homes seeking relief from violence, war, or religious persecution.
“We encourage Church members and friends to respond appropriately and legally, to help create welcoming communities by volunteering their time, talents and friendship to individuals and families who are integrating into our societies.”
On Nov. 2, Utah Governor Gary Herbert asked the White House through a letter to President Donald Trump to send more refugees to Utah.
Herbert said Utah has the resources and space for refugees. In the past, Herbert said Utah has been able to accept 1,000 refugees per year, but the numbers of those settling in the state have decreased.
Herbert sent the letter as the Trump Administration prepares to reduce the number of refugees accepted into the country, while allowing states more say over whether they will accept them.
Monday’s statement is not the first time the church’s First Presidency has issued statements on refugees. The church has been closely monitoring the refugee situation and the First Presidency has been making official statements on the current refugee concerns since 2017 and before.
On Jan. 31, 2017 the LDS Church put out a statement after Trump implemented a ban on refugees traveling to the U.S. from seven predominately Muslim nations in the Middle East, according to the Associated Press. The action — which the president said was necessary to stop “radical Islamic terrorists” — also suspended the United States’ refugee program for 120 days and indefinitely halted refugees from war-torn Syria.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned about the temporal and spiritual welfare of all of God’s children across the earth,” the First Presidency statement stated in 2018, “with special concern for those who are fleeing physical violence, war and religious persecution. The church urges all people and governments to cooperate fully in seeking the best solutions to meet human needs and relieve suffering.”
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve was a member of the First Presidency when the 2017 refugee statements were released by the church. Uchtdorf, who was a child refugee in Eastern Europe following World War II, has also stated his special concern for their wellbeing of refugees. He has used his Facebook pages to speak to the matter, and has made personal appeals encouraging members to help where they can, using his own childhood experiences as an example of refugees being helped.
The LDS Church has also produced a number of videos on how to help and support refugee families.
Herbert says the compassion to welcome refugees is a part of the culture of Utah, where members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints found refuge generations ago.
No one quite knows who the last person out the doors of the Salt Lake Temple will be on Dec. 28, but on Monday, Dec. 30 the process of decommissioning the temple and preparing for a massive four-year renovation will begin.
Prior to that date, expect Temple Square to be a beehive of activity with the annual Christmas lights and concerts, overflow temple sessions and the steady stream of weddings.
The discussion and preparations for the four-year renovation of the temple has been in the works for as much as a decade. The current First Presidency gave the go-ahead that it’s time.
Officials with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared added details Wednesday of what will be accomplished with the temple’s renovation, several details about it will be different after the renovation is complete, as well as what people can expect during the four-year renovation. The church also released renderings showing what several rooms inside the temple will look like after renovations are completed.
“The last major renovation was in the 1960s,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovation.
That means items like the mechanical systems, water and fire suppressant systems and other infrastructure are about 60 years old.
“It’s time to replace them,” Kirby said.
According to Kirby the church has hired several off-duty firefighters throughout the Salt Lake Valley to be on-site fire watchers. No hot work like welding will be allowed in certain areas. The church does not want to experience what the Catholic Church in Paris went through with the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
“The Salt Lake Temple is an icon of strength to members all over the world. We have studied the potential of strengthening it more,” Kirby said.
What will the renovation bring?
Kirby oversees several of the legacy temples’ renovations currently in process including the Mesa Arizona Temple and the St. George and Salt Lake temples. He also works on the Provo City Center Temple. The Manti Utah Temple is being previewed and the Logan Utah Temple is waiting for its future renovation date.
Kirby shared more details Wednesday of what will be new in the Salt Lake Temple after the renovation is complete.
“Murals will be preserved and conserved,” Kirby said. “We’ve selected colors to match the pre-1960s.”
The wood, originally pine and fir, will be regrained and brought back to the darker wood looks. The Garden Room will feature drapes and furniture and vibrant green colors to bring back the pre-1960s feel.
The Daughters of Utah Pioneers also had a sample of the carpet that historically lined the floors of the temple, which, Kirby said, the church used as a pattern for new carpet that will be installed in the temple’s Great Hall.
While there are very few floor plan adjustments, Kirby did say that the added annex will be redone and two new sealing rooms will be added with others enlarged.
Even the Moroni on the top of the temple will be taken down and given a cleaning and update and then be placed back up again.
In the meantime, the church is opening its arms and inviting guests to experience the Christmas season with its annual Christmas Lights on Temple Square display.
After the Christmas lights are dimmed at the end of the month, the following 30 days will see quite a bit of demolition, according to Brent Roberts, Special Projects managing director.
The first thing to come down in January will be the South Visitor’s Center and then the excavation begins. The public will be able to watch the construction up close.
“We invite them to look through massive viewing areas,” Roberts said. “We are doing everything we can the first year with a lot of excavation.”
Roberts said he is privileged to be a part of such a delicate and wonderful process.
“We will take the temple and keep the old feel but modernize, make it more ADA friendly, and new lifts,” Roberts said.
Temple work during renovations
Those who have volunteered as temple workers will be released, but most likely will be called to help at other local temples that will see an increase in patrons.
Rich Sutton area director in the Temple Department said they have tried to do a lot of planning.
“I don’t know what the next three weeks will bring but temple workers will have to have patience as they try to accommodate everyone,” Sutton said.
There will still be a temple president, but the offices will be moved to another temple. Before the open house in four years, a new president will be called.
Sutton also said the decommissioning is taking the sacred things from the temple and moving the status of the temple from sacred to just a building.
Following that, Sutton and crew will begin preparing for operations in the new temple.
“A lot can happen in four years,” Sutton said.
The weekly Thursday meeting held by the First Presidency has been moved to a room in the Joseph Smith Building that has been dedicated for their use.
But officials are encouraging people to visit the temple before the renovation begins.
“I don’t want anyone to feel scared and not come because of crowds,” Sutton said. “Please come, there are busy sessions but there are still opportunities.”
Some of those opportunities even include temple sealing ceremonies, which if done on an off day and with small groups a couple could be accommodated.
Visiting during renovation
One of the biggest parts of the renovation is how to accommodate the 5 million guests that visit Temple Square every year.
“We are providing a wonderful experience at the Conference Center,” said Tanner Kay, Temple Square guest experience manager.
The conference center will feature a large 3-D cutaway of the temple, a Christus statue, pieces of the temple rock for guest to touch and furniture from the temple will be on display.
There will be places guests may go either by self-guided tour or with tour guides to the top of the building where there is a panoramic view of the construction, according to Kay.
“We have been working on this for over a year,” Kay said. “The tours will open Jan. 1.”
Kay has 1,200 missionaries and volunteers to help him through the next four years as they readjust to the new location.
Kay did say that the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall will still be open as will the Church History Museum, Church History Library, Joseph Smith Building, the Lion House and all church tourist destinations in the area.
The most joyous time of year, the holiday season, may not be so bright for Kathryn, a single mother of nine children.
Kathryn, a stay-at-home mom, has gone through a divorce after more than 13 years of marriage. All of those years she spent raising children.
Because she has little ones still at home, Kathryn needs to be there with them. She recently lost her job and is now looking for something she can do from home.
The large family just recently got into a home through a local housing program. All of the children need pants, shirts, sweaters or hoodies, socks and shoes or boots, a book or two and some kind of toy.
The oldest male is 16 years old wears a size 42 pants, XXL shirts, shoe size 11 and likes the color blue. He would like books on sports and adventure stories. He likes the Steelers, anything sports and the PS4-2k20.
The oldest female is 15. Her pant size is 14, shirt size is large, shoes 10.5 and she likes black as her base color. She likes mystery and non-iction books and would like crafts, rugby items including cleats for playing.
The 13-year-old female would particularly like a hoodie. She is a size 13 pant, large size shirt and 9.5 shoes and likes the color blue. She would like books on crafts and fiction stories. She would also be happy with art supplies, makeup and hair accessories.
A 12-year-old male also would like a warm hoodie and clothes. His pant size is 38, shirt is XL and shoes are size 9.5 his favorite color is blue. He wants books on sports, and would like things football related and school supplies.
The five youngest in the family are all female, they all claim to like the color pink and all of them would like hair accessories and slime in their stockings.
Additionally, the 10-year-old girl needs a hoodie and boots, as well as clothes. She wears a pant size 14, medium shirt, and 5.5 shoe size. She would like adventure books and Judy Moody and mystery books. She would also like crafts.
The 8-year-old girl wears a size 10 pant, medium shirt and size 2 shoe. She wants Judy Moody and Junie B. Jones books. She would like play kitchen accessories, along with the slime and hair things.
The 7-years-old female wears a pant size 14, shirt is large and shoe size a 4. She also likes pink and wants the Junie B. Jones book series and if not slime, Elmer’s glue to make slime at home.
The two youngest girls need the same thing. One is 5 years old the other is 4 years old. They wear pant size six, medium shirt and shoes size 11. Both like pink. The 5-year-old would like alphabet books and Read Out Loud level 1 books. She also wants a Barbie and accessories.
The 4-year-old needs clothes including boots and a sweater. She would like a princess book and pre-school learning books as well as a Barbie and accessories to play with her sister.
All names of Sub for Santa participants have been changed. To help a family like this one, call the Sub for Santa hotline at (801) 356-6300 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or visit http://subforsanta.org.
A former Eagle Mountain teacher pleaded guilty on Monday to shoving an eighth-grade student against a wall and injuring him during gym class earlier this year.
In May, prosecutors filed a second-degree felony charge of child abuse against Anthony Robbie Chidester, 41.
The Cedar Hills resident entered a plea in abeyance in 4th District Court and Judge Kraig Powell canceled the jury trial scheduled for this week.
“I just want to apologize to anyone involved in this case, particularly I want to apologize to the victim and his family,” Chidester said on Monday. “I made a horrible mistake I’ve regretted every second of every day since.”
The judge ordered Chidester to have no contact with the student, as well as complete an anger management class and 100 hours of community service.
If he does not complete the requirements, he could face up to 15 years in prison for the felony charge, according to Utah County deputy attorney Craig Johnson.
Chidester worked as a PE teacher at Rockwell Charter High School when the incident occurred in April, court documents state.
During a morning class, a 14-year-old student reportedly refused to follow Chidester’s instructions to put away a basketball.
“The situation escalated and became physical,” charges state. “Surveillance footage shows the defendant holding (the student) with both hands by the shirt and slamming (the student) into the wall.”
Chidester then reportedly threw the student to the ground and used his knee and hands to push the student into the floor.
“Other students were able to separate the parties,” charges state, and several recorded the incident using cellphones.
Officers responded to the school and determined the student had bruising and redness on his chest, back and arm.
“That’s when the adult needs to be the adult in the room and he wasn’t,” Johnson said.
Administrators asked Chidester to leave the building, and school director Darren Beck later issued a formal statement noting the teacher was fired.
Both the student and his mother attended the court hearing and declined to comment on the case.
“She appreciates the closure this has brought their family,” Johnson said.
If Chidester completes the abeyance requirements and does not commit further crimes in the next two years, the charge will be reduced to class A misdemeanor on his record.