Carnival worker arrested, accused of luring young girl

TACOMA, Wash. -- A carnival worker is suspected of trying to lure a young girl at the Pierce County Fair in Graham over the weekend, and now the man is behind bars.

Betty Backstrom has been working the Pierce County Fair in Graham for 31 years, and she said she sensed something odd about fellow worker Bryan McCann.

"He was just a little bit too friendly with this little girl, not good," she said.

McCann made his first court appearance Wednesday after being accused of trying to lure a young girl in one of the horse barns at the fairground this past weekend.

"I thought, 'Thank God it didn't go any further,'" Backstrom said.

A witness says she observed McCann leaning in and offering his hand to the girl. The child shook her head no, and later told investigators he told her to "shhh" and motioned for her to come with him. She then said "absolutely not sir" and he stormed off, according to police.

Someone intervened and others followed McCann until he could be detained by a security guard and then police.

"I'm just glad that we had people who were on the ball, that they were aware of what was going on and saw that something wasn't right," said Backstrom.

Fair organizers say McCann had been hired by the Funtastic Carnival Company out of Oregon for just one evening's work to help with the teardown after the fair was over.

Backstrom said the company didn't check his background until after the arrest, but he came up clean.

There is a standing "buddy rule" with 4-H members who participate at the fair, and the alleged incident proved why it's important.

"We just don't want to hear that any kid has been out running around out by themselves," Backstrom said.

In all her years at the fair, Backstrom said she's never had anything like this happen before.

"Nothing like this at all, nothing like this at all," she said.

McCann is being held in lieu of $250,000 bond and has pleaded not guilty. Officials from Funtastic did not return calls for comment on the story.