Orlando Sentinel

Firefighter arrested in child sex
The Clermont man was charged with sexual battery on 2 girls who used to visit his home.

By Jim Buynak | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted March 18, 2005


CLERMONT -- A city firefighter was being held without bail Thursday after he was arrested on charges of sexual battery on two young girls, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Michael Steven Bryant, 35, admitted his involvement in the incidents "over the course of several months," the arrest affidavit said.

The sexual batteries happened in 2004 when the girls were 3 and 4 and were visiting Bryant's home, according to Sgt. Christie Mysinger.

The parents of one of the girls called investigators Wednesday, and Bryant agreed to be interviewed by detectives later that day, Mysinger said.

He was arrested shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Sheriff's Office substation in Clermont where he surrendered, according to the affidavit.

Bryant resigned from his job at 5 p.m. Wednesday, shortly before meeting with detectives, according to Clermont Fire Chief Carle Bishop.

Bryant started as a part-time firefighter for Clermont in June 2003 and then took a full-time job a year later, Bishop said.

"This is a shock to all of us," Bishop said. "He was a good firefighter, a family man."

He added it was a tragic situation.

"Everyone looks up to firefighters," Bishop said. "It's a tragedy when one of them usurps that trust."

Before joining the Clermont department, Bryant worked as a firefighter for Osceola County Fire Rescue for nine years, Bishop said.

According to records with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Bryant's only other brush with the law came in 1992 when he was arrested in Leon County on a misdemeanor fraud charge involving insufficient funds on a check. He was fined $75 on that charge, the FDLE records show.

Mysinger said the investigation is not complete, and that there may be more victims.

Jim Buynak can be reachedat jbuynak@orlandosentinel.comor 352-742-5917.