August 23, 2013

Jury trial under way in child molestation case

Bell faces class B felony charge.

By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune

---- — A jury trial involving a Logansport man accused of child molestation began Wednesday morning.

Zachary Bell is facing a charge of child molestation, a class B felony, related to an incident that occurred Feb. 6, 2011, at the Logan Roller Rink. Bell plead not guilty in April 2011.

The 12-year-old victim’s mother went to police after the incident to report her daughter had been sexually assaulted.

The girl told Cass County Sheriff’s deputies she spent the night with Bell and one of her friends in a room at the roller rink the evening of Feb. 5.

When the victim awoke the next morning, her friend had left for work and Bell was reportedly assaulting her. Bell admitted to police that he had had intercourse with the girl but was unaware of the victim’s age.

The girl claimed Bell ignored her efforts to resist his advances. Bell claimed the girl was a willing partner.

Bell reportedly told officer the victim’s Facebook page said she was born in 1989.

Sabrina Colford, the Logan Roller Rink owner’s daughter and Bell’s friend, testified she and Bell were allowed to sleep at the building. No one else had permission to stay there and it was supposed to be a temporary situation, she said.

Bell is being represented by Matthew Barrett and Lisa Swain is attorney for the prosecution.

Several people were subpoenaed for the jury trial located in Cass Superior Court II. Marie Nichols, a sexual assault nurse examiner at Logansport Memorial Hospital, spoke of coming into contact with the victim. Gary Armstrong, Travis Evans and Jill Rife of the Cass County Sheriff’s Department also were called as witnesses.

During the second day of the jury trial, a video of an interview between Bell, Rife and Tom Heflin of the Cass County Sheriff’s Department was shown. After Bell was arrested, the case was turned over to the prosecutor’s office, asking that formal charges be filed.

The trial will continue with Cass Superior II Judge Rick Maughmer at 9:30 a.m. today.