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Oregon’s Foot Man Has Arrest Record in Three States

OREGON CITY — from – A man accused of fondling and kissing women’s legs after convincing them to try on shoes in a series of store assaults has a long arrest record spanning three states.

But only one case — ultimately dismissed — was similar to the recent rash of incidents that made him the subject of a local police manhunt.
Meanwhile, the woman who first spotted the man and called police late Wednesday, said she remembered his distinctive orange baseball cap from surveillance photos released to the media. In an interview Thursday afternoon, she called the experience “surreal.”

Steven George Bronson, 46, was arraigned Thursday on two counts of misdemeanor third-degree sexual abuse. He was being held in the Clackamas County Jail, with bail set at $50,000. He is due to appear in court Sept. 3.

Bronson, formerly of Beaverton and reportedly living out of his car more recently, is suspected of pulling foot-fetish scams on women from the Happy Valley area to Medford. Authorities said he may face additional charges.

Detective Jim Strovink, Clackamas County sheriff’s spokesman, said Bronson’s criminal record includes arrests in California for drug possession and disorderly conduct, beginning in 1983, followed by convictions for theft in 1997 and petty theft in 1998. In 1997, Bronson was arrested on a shoplifting charge in Reno.

In 2006, he was arrested in Spokane on an charge of indecent liberties, a misdemeanor. The case eventually was dismissed, according to Spokane Municipal Court records.

In the past week, police in the Portland area have publicly expressed concern that the foot-fetish behavior could escalate into something more dangerous.

“We still don’t know what this guy might have done if we hadn’t caught him,” Strovink said Thursday.

Amy Lawrence of Oregon City had just left work Wednesday afternoon, when she spotted a man in an orange baseball cap in his car outside the Willamette Falls Urgent Care Center/ Woman’s Health Center, west of Happy Valley. She watched him change his shirt, put on deodorant, then change his hat several times before entering the building.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this is kind of crazy,'” Lawrence said Thursday. “He didn’t look like anything out of the ordinary, but that hat …”

After she called 9-1-1, deputies arrived to arrest Bronson.

Police first became aware of the case in mid-July, when a man conned women at a Clackamas-area Target store at least three times. Each time, he asked women to try on shoes, supposedly to find out whether his wife — or girlfriend, in some versions of the story — might like them. But once he had the opportunity, he allegedly began touching the women’s feet and legs, sometimes rubbing his face on their thighs.

The man was then reported last week at a Medford store, where he used the same ruse to trick a 15-year-old girl before touching her legs. He bolted when she began to scream.

This past weekend, he was reported at a Ross Dress For Less store on Southeast 82nd Avenue, west of Happy Valley and again at Target on Southeast Sunnyside Road in Clackamas.


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