Mother kicks, slaps man after allegedly walking in on him sexually abusing child

Crime Watch

REXBURG — A 51-year-old man is facing multiple felony charges after a mother allegedly caught him sexually abusing her child.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, a woman told deputies that she lived with Bret Thomas Purcell beginning in April with her two children. It is not clear in documents how she and Purcell knew each other.

She said on Nov. 6, she and Purcell had a friend over. They were drinking and watching football. The friend went home, then the mother of the two children went to bed. She reported she heard a noise outside of her room that was unfamiliar, and she wasn’t sure if it was the TV or not. It caused her to leave her room and come out to the living room.

She told deputies that when she got out to the living room, she saw Purcell exposing himself and sexually abusing her 9-year-old daughter.

She yelled at him, kicked him, slapped him and told him she and her children would be leaving.

The next morning, Purcell asked her what the big deal was, and she told him what had occurred. Her child told her this wasn’t the only time something like this had happened, according to documents.

The child told investigators that when Purcell got drunk, he entered her room. She said that Purcell told her not to tell anyone, and if she did, he would kick her family out of the house.

Purcell told investigators during an interview that he had gotten drunk on Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. He said he watched one football game. Purcell said he did not remember events from approximately 1 p.m. that afternoon until 5 a.m. the next morning.

He confirmed that he was confronted by the woman. They argued about the circumstances. He said he dumped out all of the beer in his house during that argument.

Purcell told investigators that he could not remember that night, but “it was possible that he could have exposed himself to (the child),” documents said. He told deputies that he believed the mother was being truthful as she had no reason to lie about something like this.

Purcell was charged with four felonies, including one count of child sexual abuse of a minor and three counts of lewd conduct with a child under 16. He was given a $250,000 bond.

A preliminary hearing is set for Purcell on Dec. 28 at 1:30 p.m. at the Madison County Courthouse.

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