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Man facing charges for allegedly touching young girl while swimming at Orem Fitness Center

Posted at 10:51 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-11 00:51:46-05

OREM, Utah -- A lazy river at a public pool in Orem turned into a dangerous river Wednesday night when a man was arrested for allegedly touching a 10-year-old girl inappropriately.

Demetrio Siruno, 38, has been charged with three counts of sexual abuse of a child. The incident happened at the Orem Fitness Center around 8 p.m.

"It's every parent's nightmare, I would hate to have that happen to my children, but I know it's out there and it happens," said Tanya Killian of Lindon.

Killian and her five children splash around at the Orem Fitness Center pool at least once a month.

"We drill our kids: 'You don't talk to anyone, if somebody touches you, you come tell me,'" Killian said.

In this case the victim did everything correctly, immediately telling her mother. The mother then alerted the nearest lifeguard.

"That lifeguard then summoned the help of the rest of the lifeguards around the pool area to watch this man, so that way we could get there and they could show us where he was," said Lt. Craig Martinez of the Orem Police Department.

When police arrived, the suspect was in the locker room. Officers waited outside, and when he came out they made the arrest.

"He went quietly, didn't put up a fight; he asked to speak with his attorney before talking to us," Martinez said.

Police say by speaking up right away, this brave little girl probably protected other children from also becoming victims.

"Had it been a day later, hours later, who knows if we would know who our suspect is," Martinez said.

Orem City said this type of situation is out of the ordinary for the pool, and they are proud of how their lifeguards handled it.

"We don't train for sexual assault at the fitness center, we don't ever want it to happen but we do train for other crimes and basically it's all treated the same," said Karl Hirst, Director of Recreation for Orem City.

Killian won't hesitate to bring her family swimming again, as she says this incident just reflects the times we live in.

"We as parents need to have eyes on our kids wherever we go, and we need to make sure that they are responsible enough to know that those dangers are real and what to do if it happens," she said.

According to pool staff, this is the first time anyone has ever seen Siruno at the pool. Police said he has been arrested in the past on some misdemeanor offenses, but nothing this serious.

As of Thursday night, Siruno remained in the Utah County Jail.