ROVO Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - A 54-year-old Provo man is charged with preying on the children of women he is dating.
James Brausch was charged with two counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child in Utah County district court. According to Provo police
Brausch befriended two different mothers and allegedly molested their children after they moved into his home.
“Speculation, there's an obvious pattern here and it's a concern," said Lt. Brandon Post with the Provo police department.
"That's why we took action and that is why the county prosecutor found it appropriate to raise it to an aggravated charge."
Police aren't sure if James Brausch is targeting single mothers just to be with children.
But prosecutors say it's happened twice.
Brausch allegedly stayed overnight at a Provo hotel with a promise to give the girls swim lessons.
Court documents show the girl's mother who Brausch met at a support group for widows and widowers didn't come.
“He then allegedly abused the seven year old girl,” said Lt. Post.
After they broke up, Brausch is accused of meeting the second mother on a LDS singles adult website.
Police say the girl's mother let her stay at Braush's home.
“During this time he allegedly abused the 10 year old girl,” said Lt. Post.
Dating on singles websites or socially meeting a potential date, can be risky. Joann Griffin who lives in the same neighborhood as Brausch uses it to meet men.
"You don't know who is on the other end,” said Griffin. “And I'm very cautious. I will talk to somebody for a long time before I meet them and you just never know.”
Griffin said she has resources that allow her to get information about the men she may be dating.
“I've had some red flags and I'll stay away from them,” she said. “But I've also had one's that had a green light.”
A woman's advocacy group says protecting children in a budding relationship is very important.
"We don't want to have to mistrust everybody but there are questions we shouldn't be afraid to ask," said Alana Kidness with the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
In 2012, the Department of Public Safety reported that abusing children in a household is quite common in Utah.
According to DPS 929 sex offenses were committed between a father and his child. 218 were committed between a step-father and child. 715 by a grandparent and 31 by a boyfriend.
Kindness suspects there may be many more cases against boyfriends but they may go unreported.
She said sex offenders take advantage of certain situations like access and privacy. For that reason she said there's nothing wrong for a mother who let her children stay with a boyfriend “to make unannounced visits.”
She said it allows a mother to see how the boyfriend is interacting with her children during an unsuspecting time.
“One of the things to be cautious about is making assumptions that just because someone is in a certain position, a position in which other people trust them that they are safe to be in a relationship with you or your children,” Kindness said.
She said a women who intends to date needs to gather as much information possible from trustful sources.
All of Utah's state courthouse have computers in a public viewing area. There one can access Xchange. It is a database of district and justice court case information. Xchange has information about cases filed against an individual. According to the district court laison “XChange provides court case summaries, including information such as names, addresses (if available), documents filed, hearings held, judgments entered and the outcome of completed cases.” Court documents are also available on Xchange for a fee.
Kindness says their website UCASA also provides information and resources that women can use. UCASA works with other organizations and individuals in supporting education, prevention and response to sexual violence in Utah. She also said the websited2l.org also offers information for women including training and seminars for women.