HEBER CITY — A registered sex offender was arrested Tuesday after police say he was spotted walking through the hallways of an elementary school, even though the man does not have a child who attends the school.
Bruce Chatwin, 42, of Heber City, was arrested just after school let out at J.R. Smith Elementary thanks to alert faculty, said Heber City Police Chief Dave Booth.
"They did a phenomenal job. And that particular school, they do do a great job. The principal there is very vigilant about watching out for his children. He trains his faculty as such. J.R. Smith is a great school for just keeping an eye on their kids and protecting them," he said.
Booth said Chatwin entered the building just as school was letting out.
"So he went in, was going through the hallways and then went out another door. The faculty saw him coming through the hallways and leave. And we actually stopped him off-site of the school," the chief said. "He wasn't there to do anything other than to be there. I think he told the staff he was there to pick up a child, but he wasn't there to pick up a child."
The Wasatch School District had a slightly different account of what happened. In a prepared statement, the district said Chatwin entered the school with his girlfriend and the girlfriend's daughter. The daughter was there to visit a teacher and drop off homework, according to the district.
However, according to the sex offender registry rules, a registered sex offender can only enter a school with their own biological child or a child they are a legal guardian over.
Because it's a small community, district spokesman Shawn Kelly said the staff recognized Chatwin.
"They knew the mom. They knew the situation there. They were aware of who this man was,” he said. "The community of J.R. Smith Elementary is very tight.”2 comments on this story
Booth said with the safeguards in place at the school, there's no way Chatwin could have picked up a child who isn't his own.
Chatwin was arrested for investigation of violating the terms of being on the sex offender registry. He was convicted of sex abuse of a child in 2004. In exchange for his guilty plea in that case, an additional charge of rape of a child was dismissed, according to court records.
Chatwin has since been convicted four times of not properly registering on the sex offender registry, according to court records.