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Medford foot fondler caught

A man suspected of fondling the feet and legs of at least three Medford shoppers was arraigned Thursday in Clackamas County on sexual abuse charges, police said.

Steven George Bronson, 46, faces two counts of third-degree sexual abuse — a misdemeanor — after an alert woman reported him to police in Happy Valley after spotting him entering a health-care center.

On July 30, Bronson reportedly approached a 15-year-old girl at Ross Dress For Less on Poplar Drive and asked her to try on a pair of shoes, supposedly for his wife.

The girl consented. He proceeded to help her buckle the shoes and then began kissing and fondling her feet and lower leg.

When the girl yelled for her sister, Bronson ran off, police said.

After news of the incident was reported, two other women talked to police about similar incidents, one at Walmart on Highway 62 and the other at JC Penney in the Rogue Valley Mall, Medford police Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau said.

“The women managed to kick him away,” Budreau said. “I'm sure it was a disturbing experience.”

Three similar cases occurred in a Clackamas County Target store on July 17 and 18, police said.

The day after the last Medford attack, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office fielded calls from four additional victims at stores in Happy Valley.

A woman who recognized Bronson from surveillance videos broadcast on the news told Clackamas County sheriff's deputies she saw him enter a health clinic Wednesday afternoon.

Deputies surrounded the clinic and later arrested Bronson. He was lodged in the Clackamas County Jail and was arraigned on the sex abuse charges Thursday.

Medford police plan to file additional charges against Bronson after he is returned to Jackson County.

Budreau said Medford detectives will work with the Jackson County District Attorney's Office to decide what the charges will be.

Bronson has a history of arrests in California, Nevada and Washington, though none of his arrests were sex offenses, Budreau said.

Police are asking additional victims to come forward by contacting Medford detectives at 774-2230.