A 74-year-old registered sex offender in Utah with a penchant for dressing up as Elmo from “Sesame Street” has been arrested after authorities say he’s been taking part in children’s activities at a local farmers market.
Larry Neff Jarvis was taken into custody on Friday and charged with one count of failing to update his sex offender registry address, which is a felony, and one count of sex offender violation in a protected area, a misdemeanor, authorities announced.
According to a press release from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, detectives earlier this month were assigned to investigate the Lehi Farmers Market, which operates in the unincorporated area of Utah County about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City. The farmers market was reported to be operating in violation of Utah County code and zoning ordinances.
In the course of the investigation, UCSO detectives say they learned that Jarvis — one of the people operating the Lehi Farmers Market — was a registered sex offender listed on the state’s Sex Offender Registry. The registry states that Jarvis was convicted in 1995 on two counts of attempted sexual assault in Arizona.
“Detectives further learned that Jarvis lives at the location of the Lehi Farmers Market, but that the registry lists his current address at a home in Saratoga Springs,” the release states. “After speaking to the residents of that Saratoga Springs address Detectives learned Jarvis has not lived there for at least the last three months.”
State law requires individuals listed on the Sex Offender Registry to update their address within three days of relocating, something authorities say Jarvis has failed to do to this date.
Additionally, investigators say they learned that the Lehi Farmers Market maintains “an active presence” on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. In multiple postings across the market’s social media platforms, investigators say that Jarvis can be seen dressed as the character Elmo from the children’s show “Sesame Street.”
In fact, according to UCSO, many of the activities at Lehi Farmers Market are “oriented toward children,” including a petting zoo, rides on trailers towed by a tractor, and “candy drops” from a helicopter. Because Jarvis is on the sex offender registry, he is required to get “written permission from the parents of any child” he accompanies at the farmers market, something else investigators say Jarvis failed to do.
UCSO detectives with the Special Victims Unit on April 14 arrested Jarvis at the property where they say he’s been living in violation of state law. He was booked into the Utah County Jail on the aforementioned charges and released a few hours later after posting a bond of $5,000.
In an interview with Salt Lake City CBS affiliate KUTV, Jarvis reportedly apologized for offending anyone:
I’ve been on this for 30 years and no other offenses. I’m trying to improve myself and be helpful to others. I really am sorry that I offended everyone and apologize for any kind of fear or undue concern that I caused them, especially for my sweet wife and other people I know and worked with.
If they have concerns, I understand because there is such a stigma attached to the word sex offender,” he added. “There have been no new offenses or anything like that. Never had I intended to conceal or hide anything. I’ll do whatever is necessary to make things right.
Authorities urged anyone who has been to the farmers market and has ongoing concerns to contact investigators at (801) 851-4010.
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