Defendant faces additional charges in Washington County


WASHINGTON COUNTY — A Salem man accused of repeatedly forcing himself sexually upon a mentally deficient Bartholomew County woman is facing new charges in his own county, including making an unlawful proposition.

That charge against Jon A. Arnold, 65, was filed May 9 in Washington Superior Court. As defined by Indiana law, making an unlawful proposition is knowingly or intentionally paying, or offering or agreeing to pay, money or other property to another person in exchange for sex.

Last year, Arnold was charged in Washington County with 12 counts of rape while the victim is mentally disabled or deficient as Level 3 felonies. In addition, the defendant is charged with human trafficking as a Level 4 felony. If found guilty on all those charges, the Salem resident could be sentenced to more than 200 years in prison.

In Bartholomew County, he is charged with one count of rape when the victim is mentally disabled or deficient as a Level 3 felony, as well as human trafficking as a Level 4 felony.

At this time, a change of plea hearing for Arnold before Bartholomew Circuit Judge Kelly Benjamin is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept 9, with a jury trial scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 8.

In a separate case that investigators say took place after the defendant posted bond, Arnold was charged last February with two counts of being an unregistered timber buyer with prior convictions – both Level 6 felonies. He was also charged with two misdemeanor counts of engaging in business as a timber buyer without securing registration.

Due to the two new cases, a Washington Superior Court spokeswoman said Arnold has been ordered held without bond. But the subject of bail is expected to be brought up during a pre-trial conference before Washington Superior Judge Dustin Houchin at 1:15 p.m. on May 20. Arnold’s trial date in Salem is scheduled for July 16.

Arnold’s co-defendants are Christopher S. Lovell, 41; Christina L. Moffatt, 28; and Brandon A. Jacobs, 38. The three were sharing a home in Jonesville with the victim when the arrests took place. Court documents state the victim had become pregnant before law enforcement was brought in.

Lovell, Moffatt and Jacobs are charged in Benjamin’s court with one count of rape when the victim is mentally disabled or deficient as Level 3 felonies. They are also charged with promotion of human sexual trafficking as a Level 4 felony.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Adult Protective Services had been contacted by Columbus Regional Hospital about the birth of a child on July 6, 2023 from a mother not mentally capable of agreeing to a consensual sexual relationship. Evidence suggests that Jacobs or Lovell are possible fathers of the victim’s child, according to a police report.

Lovell said he had witnessed others perform sexual acts on the victim that include Moffatt, detectives said. Lovell also claims he saw a video on Moffatt’s cellphone in which Jacobs was having intercourse with the woman, the affidavit states.

Investigators believe the victim was taken to Arnold’s residence in Salem multiple times in an arrangement for sexual relations in exchange for $600 a month, the affidavit states. The mentally deficient woman was taken to Arnold’s residence between 12 and 15 times between late 2022 and early 2023, investigators said.

Detectives stated that Jacobs admitted to engaging in intercourse with the victim in December 2022, but said he believed Lovell was the father of the baby.

The victim is now under the care of a guardian and the baby is being cared for in a safe situation, detectives stated.

Change of plea hearings for Lovell, Jacobs and Moffatt are all currently scheduled for the same day, Aug. 12, in Circuit court. Lovell’s hearing is set to begin at 8:45 a.m., Jacobs at 9:45 p.m., and Moffatt at 1:30 p.m.

All three have the same time and date for their trial: 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 10.