HIGHLAND — A Pleasant Grove man who police say was found naked in a park was arrested Friday, just one month after completing probation for charges of lewdness involving children.
Darrell Little, 33, was arrested about 12:30 a.m. in Highland Glen Park, 4800 W. Knight Ave., and was booked into the Utah County Jail. Court records indicate he is a registered sex offender.
Two police officers were conducting a foot patrol of the park, which officers do periodically to ensure no one is there past the park's 11 p.m. curfew, said Lone Peak police detective Dave Ventrano. The officers spotted a man by the pond and shined their flashlights in his direction.
The man began to run away, and the officers noticed he was completely naked, Ventrano said.
The officers said they identified themselves and told the man to stop, but he continued to run. After chasing him for several hundred yards, police caught up with the man and ordered him to get on the ground. The man told police he was skinny dipping in the pond, Ventrano said.
"He advised that he knew they were police, but because of his situation of being naked — and I understand that he's been in similar situations — he said he was afraid and that's why he ran," Ventrano said.
Police located clothing near the man that appeared to belong to a young girl, although no child was located in the area. The man told the officers he had found the clothes on a bench and was using them to dry himself off.
Officers also found a small Barbie doll, a My Little Pony toy, a pink and black purse and other items in the area. "It seemed odd to me that Darrell would be in possession of little girl's clothing and that other younger female items would be in close proximity of where Darrell was first observed," an officer wrote in an affidavit filed in 4th District Court.
Little was booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of lewdness, failure to stop at the command of police and trespassing.
Little's attorney, Ed Brass, said he was sorry to hear about Friday's incident and said Little suffers from "serious emotional and mental disabilities."
Little was arrested in 2010 for taking indecent liberties with five child victims where he created "games" to entice the children as they walked past his home from school, according to a police affidavit. Little also "removed his clothing in a public place, under a bridge over a dry canal, in an area and at a time when he knew children would be walking home from school," the affidavit states.
Little "demonstrates a propensity for sexually motivated crimes against children," police wrote at the time.
Little pleaded guilty that year in 4th District Court to three counts of lewdness involving a child, a third-degree felony, and two counts of inviting a child to accompany him while a sex offender, a class A misdemeanor. Five counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony, were dismissed in exchange for his pleas. He was sentenced to 334 days in jail, psychological treatment and 36 months of probation, which was terminated successfully on May 20.
In 2006, Little admitted after being arrested to exposing himself to minors in a park about once every two weeks over the course of three or four years, according to a police affidavit. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of lewdness and lewdness involving a child and was placed on 12 months' probation and ordered to undergo psychological treatment.
During Friday's incident, Little's intentions did not appear to involve children, Ventrano said.
"Obviously, it raises a level of concern," he said. "(But) he was located at 12:30 in the morning — well after children are asleep, I would hope."