ST. GEORGE — A 31-year-old man was arrested for sexual battery Thursday after he allegedly entered the car of a girl he had met at a red stoplight in St. George without permission and began kissing her and touching her breasts.
At approximately 6 p.m., officers responded to the area of 499 E. 700 South near Legend Solar Stadium on a sex offense report, according to a probable cause statement filed by the St. George Police Department in support of the arrest.
A female driver reported that a man – later identified as Ryan Kenneth Van Wagenen, of Pasadena, California – pulled up next to her vehicle at a stop light and asked for restaurant suggestions, the arresting officer wrote in a sworn statement.
When the light turned green during the conversation, the man said he would follow the girl to get the restaurant suggestions he was asking about.
When the girl pulled over to the side of the road, Van Wagenen, whom the girl reportedly had never met, entered her vehicle without her consent, according to the statement. The man told her his name was “Ryan” and that he was from London.
The two exchanged numbers, and the girl offered some restaurant suggestions, the officer stated, further noting that after she made her suggestions, the man allegedly leaned in close to her and began kissing her on the lips.
The girl told police that she leaned away from the man and that the kiss was clearly unwanted, according to the report.
“(The girl) reported to have been kissed approximately three times and her breast touched intentionally by Ryan while inside her vehicle,” the officer wrote in the statement. “Due to (the girl) being extremely uncomfortable, she asked Ryan to leave her vehicle.”
The girl provided police with a description of Van Wagenen, along with a description of a red, four-door car with Arizona license plates he was last seen entering.
While officers were circulating the area, the girl received a text from Van Wagenen stating he was at the Sakura restaurant on St. George Boulevard, the report stated. Officers responded to the restaurant and asked Van Wagenen to talk with them outside.
“Ryan initially told me he met up with a female ‘who was 18’ and got her phone number,” the officer stated. “Ryan explained nothing else happened.”
Van Wagenen declined to talk further with police. He was arrested and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an Information in 5th District Court accusing Van Wagenen of class A misdemeanor sexual battery.
Van Wagenen was subsequently released from police custody on $5,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear before 5th District Judge G. Michael Westfall Sept. 21 for a court arraignment.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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