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BRONSON - The president of the Bronson Youth League - a multi-faceted sports and recreation organization aimed for kids living in the county seat and the surrounding area - has been arrested on two counts of sexual battery on a child.
Dennis Russell, a 43-year-old Bronson resident, has been charged for one count of capital sexual battery on a child under 12 years of age and one count of sexual battery on a child between the ages of 12-18.
Russell turned himself in shortly before 3 p.m. Monday to Levy County Sheriff's Investigator Joe Sabbag.
Bail was set at $75,000 - $50,000 for the offense on sexual battery on a child under 12 and $25,000 for the age 12-18 crime. Russell was still in the county jail as of Tuesday afternoon.
The alleged victim disclosed in a note to a teacher that the defendant had been committing these offenses since 1998 through 2007.
The investigation into Russell's alleged criminal activity had been going on approximately 2 1/2-to-three weeks.
The sheriff's office learned of numerous locations where the alleged crimes were committed, including the Bronson Fire Department.
Besides being president of the Bronson Youth League, Russell was also a former fire chief in Bronson. He served in that capacity a few years before leaving in March 2006.
Russell was most recently fire chief for the Otter Creek Fire Department and part- time town clerk for the city of Otter Creek.
Russell has been a longtime football and baseball coach in the BYL. He was elected president by a narrow margin this past June.
The town of Bronson served notice to Russell that he immediately was relieved of duties as president of the BYL.
He also will not be allowed on town property where youth activities are held.
A certified letter was mailed to Russell signed by Mayor Franklin Schuler.
"This came from left field for a whole lot of people," said BYL soccer director Max Aguirre. "Our whole goal is to keep kids safe."
The Levy County Sheriff's Office is asking if any child has had an encounter with Russell in an inappropriate manner to contact Investigator Joe Sabbag at 486-5111 Ext 271.