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    Utah Highway Patrol sergeant arrested for allegedly groping 19-year-old

    By Spencer Burt,


    RICHFIELD, Utah — A Utah Highway Patrol trooper was arrested Tuesday after a young woman reported that he touched her under her clothing without her consent while off-duty.

    Bronson Willas Wood, 46, was booked for one felony count of forcible sexual abuse and one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

    The alleged abuse happened in March 2023, but the victim said she didn't initially report it because she didn't think anyone would believe her due to the suspect's job as a UHP trooper.

    According to the arrest report, the victim was 19 years old at the time and was a friend of Wood's daughter. She said she was at Wood's home that night, and Wood let her and his daughter drink alcohol. That night, she slept on the couch in Wood's basement.

    The victim said Wood came downstairs, sat next to her on the couch, and began rubbing her side. She said at one point, she asked him to stop, but he continued to touch her. She said he then asked her to make out with him, to which she said no.

    She said the situation escalated, and Wood reached under her shirt and touched her inappropriately while still trying to convince her to make out with him. She also told police that Wood said he "he had been in love with her since the day she moved there (when she was 17 years old)."

    After he went upstairs, she said she left the home and had a friend pick her up.

    The Utah County Sheriff's Office investigated the victim's claim due to a possible conflict of interest. The arresting officer wrote in the probable cause statement that Wood should be held without bail, saying he "has caused fear in the victim through community relationships and employment," which delayed her from reporting the incident.

    However, a judge set his bail at $5,500 with several conditions, including that he have no contact with the victim, stay at least 500 feet away from the victim at all times, and have a GPS monitor attached to him at his own expense.

    According to Transparent Utah, Wood is a sergeant and has been an officer for the state since 2014.

    In a statement following Wood's arrest, the Utah Department of Public Safety said he has been placed on administrative leave. They said an administrative investigation is underway in addition to the criminal investigation.

    "We take the allegations in this incident very seriously. The Utah Department of Public Safety and the Utah Highway Patrol have zero tolerance for this type of behavior," the department's statement read in part. "We express our most sincere, heartfelt sympathy and support to the victim of this incident during this difficult time."


    Resources for sexual assault survivors:

    • Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault hotline: 801-736-4356
    • More resources available online at
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