75-year-old Payson man charged with sexually abusing young girls in Fruit Heights

FARMINGTON – A 75-year-old Payson man was arrested Monday and accused of sexually abusing several young neighborhood girls from 1977 to 1989 when he lived in Fruit Heights.

“Some of these victims have been searching for justice for 40 years and we are happy to tell them that Alan Bassett is no longer on the streets,” said Davis County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Taylor West.

Alan Brower Bassett lives in a senior living community in Payson and was sitting at his kitchen table when confronted with the allegations. He told police, “If they say I did it, then I did it. Why would they lie?” a police affidavit states.

On Tuesday, he was arraigned in 2nd District Court on nine counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony.

Several alleged victims were interviewed, but due to legal restrictions, only five victims’ statements about the abuse could be used to charge Bassett, the affidavit said.

Bassett “had unrestricted access to little girls during this entire time” but “was unable to tell me the total number of victims he sexually abused,” the sheriff’s detective reported in the affidavit.

“Our office’s investigators have spent hundreds of hours identifying, locating and interviewing victims,” ​​West said after receiving the initial report in August 2020. The incidents all occurred between Bassett’s move with his family to a new neighborhood in Fruit Heights in 1977 and his move in 1998, according to the police report.

The allegations, which are divided into eight separate offenses, describe how the man sexually assaulted his children’s friends when they came to his house for sleepovers, visits or hikes when they were between the ages of 5 and 10. In one case reported to police, Bassett inappropriately touched a young girl as a helicopter flew over his house.

Bassett “stopped touching him and frantically ran out of the room, believing the police were coming to pick him up,” the affidavit states. The helicopter was actually a rescue helicopter responding to a neighbor’s call, and that neighbor was able to confirm “the exact time frame” of the incident.

A civil lawsuit filed against Bassett and his wife in 2019 detailed similar abuse incidents. The man was accused of sexually abusing a young girl during outings, hikes and visits to his home.

The indictment states that Bassett “used every excuse to be alone with the child and to harass her,” including checking her for ticks during camping trips and examining her for injuries after a car accident.

When the victim was in seventh grade, her parents met with Bassett and a religious leader. Bassett told the girl’s parents that he was “sorry for what he had done and would be happy to pay for therapy,” the lawsuit states. However, he “did not disclose exactly what actions he was apologizing for.”

The lawsuit alleges that Bassett continued to sexually abuse the girl and that Bassett’s wife “did nothing to stop him or to report his actions to parents or police.” Bassett once asked the girl’s mother if she could go skiing with his family, but when he went to pick her up from school, he told her they were only going skiing together, and throughout the day he repeatedly “fell on” the child on the slopes to grope her, the lawsuit says.

“We remain committed to seeking justice for all victims, regardless of how much time has passed,” West said in a statement. The Davis County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who may have been a victim of Bassett to call Detective Derrick Pyles at 801-451-4403.