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Child grabbed on Clematis St.; Suspect arrested

Posted at 1:46 PM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 04:50:41-05

A West Palm Beach man is facing sexual battery charges on a child after an incident on Clematis Street last week.

Police said a family and their child were enjoying a snowman exhibit Thursday in downtown West Palm Beach when the suspect, Richard Andrew Bender, 44, suddenly approached them.

A police report said Bender asked the child to "come here" before grabbing her hips and pulling her toward him.

The child also said Bender tried to pull her shorts down, but she was able to break free and run to her family.

Witnesses interviewed by police also said they saw several young women running to adults saying that a man grabbed them under their shorts.

When officers arrived, they said Bender started uttering a string of salacious and vulgar comments about what he wanted to do to the child.   

Bender was taken into custody and held without bond.