Trafficking suspect to appear in court


A Bartholomew County man facing charges of sexually trafficking and raping a mentally disabled adult woman is scheduled to appear in court later this month for a domestic battery charge alleging he battered the victim, who was pregnant and in a relationship with him.

Christopher Scott Lovell, 41, was charged with domestic battery to the pregnant mentally-disabled woman in April after Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a mobile home park in Jonesville to investigate reports of a battery, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Lovell is scheduled to appear in Bartholomew Circuit Court on Sept. 25 for a change of plea hearing, according to court records. Lovell was released from the Bartholomew County Jail on April 29 following a 48-hour hold but was arrested again earlier this week on charges of promoting human sexual trafficking and raping a mentally disabled adult who is suspected to have the cognitive function of a toddler.

As of midday Friday, Lovell was being held at the Bartholomew County Jail in lieu of $450,000 bond.

On May 3, prosecutors filed a motion for a no-contact order for the witnesses of the domestic violence incident as a condition of Lovell’s pretrial release to ensure they “will not be intimidated or harassed while the case is pending.”

Two of the witnesses to the domestic violence incident – Christina Moffatt and Brandon Jacobs — also are now defendants in the human sexual trafficking case.

Jacobs allegedly showed sheriff’s deputies video of the domestic violence incident taken from “internal security cameras” in the Jonesville residence’s living room, according to a probable cause affidavit. The video shows Lovell approaching the victim and open-hand striking her in the face, causing her to fall to the ground, the affidavit states.

Moffatt also told sheriff’s deputies that she witnessed Lovell strike the victim.

During the course of the investigation, deputies learned that Lovell was in “an open, three-way relationship” with Moffatt and the victim, both of whom were pregnant, the affidavit states.

Jacobs told the deputies that he believes Lovell was the father of the victim’s child, but he is claiming to be the father after Lovell allegedly said he didn’t want the child, according to court documents.

Lovell told the deputies that he knew the victim was pregnant and that he had struck her “with an open hand, demonstrating doing so by swinging his arms and hand.”

Earlier this week, sheriff’s deputies also arrested Moffatt, Jacobs and Jon Arnold of Salem on charges of promoting human sexual trafficking and raping a mentally disabled adult, according to court records.

Local authorities were alerted to the case by Columbus Regional Hospital staff after the mentally disabled adult had given birth to a child and they determined through a neuropsychological evaluation that the woman does not have the cognitive ability to consent to a sexual relationship.

Moffatt, Jacobs and Lovell allegedly engaged in sexual acts with the victim on multiple occasions since last year and repeatedly took her to a residence in Salem to engage in sexual acts with Arnold in exchange for money, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Also on Tuesday, an eviction claim was filed in Bartholomew Circuit Court against Moffatt and Jacobs, alleging that they failed to pay September rent and had abandoned their Jonesville mobile home, which the complaint states was empty and had no electrical service, according to court records.

Bartholomew County Code Enforcement conducted a wellfare check at the mobile home in August at the request of Jacobs. A county fire inspector stated in a report that the entire structure of the mobile home was in “poor condition,” documenting “multiple exposed electrical conductors,” one cable cut without termination, no fire detectors, among “other structural problems.”

The Bartholomew County Health Department said it has sent “a letter needed corrections sent to the owner and a notification it may not be inhabited by a tenant again until needed corrections have been made and inspected by our office” and code enforcement.

The same landlord filed to evict Moffatt, Jacobs and another individual from the same address in 2015, alleging that they failed to pay rent and back rent.

That eviction claim was ultimately denied after a Bartholomew County judge determined that Brock was not permitted to rent the property until the Bartholomew County Board of Health approved.

As of Friday morning, both criminal cases against Lovell were pending, according to court documents.