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Man involved in alleged molestation faced battery charge

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The man arrested at the eastside Walmart on two felony charges involving girls had been accused a year ago of accosting a woman in public.

Jeffrey L. Brock, 43, of Taylorsville was arrested Sunday after the attempted abduction of one grade-school girl and inappropriate touching of another, police spokesman Lt. Matt Myers said.

A 7-year-old girl told police she broke away from a man who tried to pull her from the shoe department after she briefly stepped away from her mother, Myers said.

Minutes later, surveillance footage showed a man inappropriately touching an 8-year-old girl near the store entrance while her parents talked to a friend, Myers said. After the girl’s mother got involved in a shoving match with the suspect, her husband and another shopper prevented the man from escaping.

Brock was arrested on charges of child molestation, a Class C felony; sexual battery, a Class D felony; and two misdemeanor counts of battery.

The County Road 650N resident already faced one count of battery, a Class B misdemeanor, in connection with a March 25, 2013, incident at Columbus Regional Hospital, according to court records.

On that day, a woman in her mid-20s was walking down a hospital hallway when a stranger — believed to be Brock — reached out and slapped her buttocks as he walked by her, according to a probable cause affidavit submitted by Columbus Police Officer Toby Combest.

After running into a restroom and locking herself in a stall, the woman waited several minutes before going back into the hall. But after stepping outside, the woman saw the man was still there. As she went the other way looking for help, the man followed her, the affidavit stated.

As she sought refuge, the woman could hear the man voicing crude sexual comments toward her, Combest wrote.

But when the woman ran into the hospital gift shop to contact security personnel, the man stopped pursuing her, the affidavit stated.

The woman’s account was not only confirmed by surveillance video, but the recorded images indicated the man was likely Brock, who was at the hospital to request to see a physician, Combest wrote.

When Brock was questioned, he first told Combest he was only thinking about slapping the woman’s buttocks, but later he said he might have accidentally touched her, the affidavit stated.

Although he admitted he also might have made inappropriate comments, Brock claimed he was having an out-of-body experience at the time, Combest wrote.

In a questionnaire filled out to request a public defender, Brock wrote: “I am suffering from and under a doctor’s care for mental illness.”

Combest’s affidavit stated Brock made a similar comment to the officer during questioning.

Under an arrangement made through the court’s pretrial diversion program, Brock had been offered a deal that if he could stay out of legal trouble until Oct 24, 2014, the battery charge would be dropped.

Brock was scheduled to be released Tuesday after a 48-hour hold, but Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash said he requested that Brock remain behind bars an additional 72 hours “in order to facilitate some specific follow-up investigation.”

After more details are gathered, Nash is expected to publicly comment further on both the Walmart and hospital incidents, the prosecutor stated in an email.

Criminal charges have not yet been filed in connection with Sunday’s incidents. Nash’s office will make those decisions.

Once Brock is eligible for release from jail, bond will be set at $45,500 surety or $4,500 cash.

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