Four suspects in human trafficking, rape case have initial hearings in court today

The exterior of Bartholomew County Courthouse in Columbus, Ind., pictured, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

EDITOR’S NOTE: Readers are cautioned that this story contains content that may be disturbing.

Four suspects accused of Level 4 felony promoting human sexual trafficking and Level 3 felony rape are scheduled to appear in Bartholomew Circuit Court today for initial hearings.

The four are scheduled in court at 1 p.m. before Magistrate David Nowak, according to court documents.

Arrested in the case were:

  • Brandon A. Jacobs, 37, of 594 Market St., Jonesville, Bartholomew County warrant for promotion of human sexual trafficking and rape. His bond was set at $450,000 or 10% cash.
  • Christina L. Moffatt, 27, Seymour, Bartholomew County warrant for promotion of human sexual trafficking and rape. Her bond was set at $450,000 or 10% cash.
  • Christopher S. Lovell, 41, Seymour, Bartholomew County warrant for promotion of human sexual trafficking and rape. His bond was set at $450,000 or 10% cash.
  • Jon A. Arnold, 65, Salem, Bartholomew County warrant for human trafficking and rape. His bond was set at $450,000 or 10% cash.

Bartholomew County Sheriff detectives said they were contacted by the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office about an ongoing investigation by county Adult Protective Services that might be criminal in nature.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Adult Protective Services had been contacted by Columbus Regional Hospital about the birth of a child on July 6 as the mother was a low-functioning adult who they suspected had a cognitive function of a toddler.

Detectives met with Columbus Regional Hospital police, social workers and the hospital birthing staff where investigators determined the victim did not have the cognitive ability to consent to enter into a sexual relationship.

In a lengthy investigation, detectives learned the victim had resided with Jacobs, Moffatt and Lovell in Jonesville, and that Lovell had been accused and arrested for battering her while she was pregnant on April 27, the probable cause affidavit states.

Body camera footage related to that incident indicated that Jacobs or Lovell were possible fathers of the victim’s child, the affidavit states.

When Lovell was interviewed at the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s office about the victim’s pregnancy, he said he had engaged in sexual activity with the victim multiple times since Sept. 2, 2022, the probable cause affidavit states. He also told detectives he had witnessed others perform sexual acts on the victim, including Moffatt, and had observed a video on Moffatt’s cellphone in which Jacobs was having intercourse with the victim, the affidavit states.

Lovell also told detectives he had witnessed an individual named “Jon” engage in sexual acts with the victim, the affidavit states. He said the victim would be taken to “Jon’s” residence in Salem by Lovell and Moffatt in an arrangement that the victim would visit “so many times a month for $600 a month” with those arrangements made by Jacobs, the affidavit states.

Jacobs and Moffatt utilized a chat line and an OnlyFans account to distribute sexual material involving the victim according to Lovell’s statements to detectives which are included in the affidavit.

When Jacobs was interviewed, he admitted to engaging in intercourse with the victim in December 2022 but said he believed Lovell was the father of the baby, the affidavit states.

Moffatt told investigators she had witnessed each of the three male suspects engaging in sexual intercourse with the victim and that the victim was taken to visit “Jon” in Salem 10 to 15 times, the affidavit states.

A download of Moffatt’s cellphone had multiple photos and videos of the victim engaging in sexual activity with “Jon,” and Jacobs, the affidavit states.

When detectives interviewed “Jon,” now identified as Jon Arnold, he told them the victim visited his residence between 12 and 15 times between late 2022 and early 2023 and he had sexual contact with her during those visits, the affidavit states. He told investigators there was never an arrangement to pay for sexual favors but he would help with bills, gas money or loan them money, the affidavit states.

Commenting on the arrests, Sheriff Chris Lane said “I am continuously shocked at the deplorable actions of some individuals who would take advantage of and abuse others for their personal gain or desires. Lt. Kevin Abner led the investigation into these allegations, along with other Bartholomew County Sheriff detectives and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office. I commend Lt. Abner’s dedication and leadership in this investigation. These investigations are some of the most difficult, on a personal level, for detectives to handle.”