Idaho resident Luke Kenneth Lovell was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Teton County District Court on one count of soliciting to engage in illicit sexual relations, a felony.
His attorney Dick Mulligan entered a not guilty plea on Lovell’s behalf.
Lovell turned himself into the Teton County Jail on June 27 after police said they caught him trying to have sex with a fictitious 13-year-old girl from Jackson.
An undercover agent with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation posed as 13-year-old “Taya Parker” on Kik, a chat application.
According to charging documents, Lovell was making arrangements to visit Jackson to have sex with “Taya.”
Since he bailed out of jail, Lovell has been on house arrest and ordered to stay home except for errands on Saturdays and worship on Sunday mornings.
Mulligan pleaded with Judge Tim Day to remove his client’s ankle monitor because of health concerns.
“He has gained 40 pounds because he cannot exercise,” Mulligan said. “He has no prior criminal history whatsoever.”
Teton County Prosecutor Erin Weisman did not object to the removal of Lovell’s ankle monitor but said she wanted terms to remain that Lovell not speak to any minors without the presence of an adult.
Judge Day wanted to know why Lovell couldn’t join a gym so his activity could be better monitored.
Lovell said he couldn’t afford a gym and wanted the court’s permission to walk trails “in the middle of nowhere” around Pocatello, Idaho.
The court said it would consider allowing an hour each evening for exercise.
Lovell, 38, was fired from Idaho State University in July. He worked there as an interactive video conferencing classroom specialist.
Mulligan said Lovell now works for a call center.
According to court documents, Lovell was making arrangements to drive from Pocatello to Jackson to meet “Taya” for sex. His texts included lewd propositions about having sex with the teen.
“If you get caught big deal, you get grounded,” Lovell told “Taya.” “If I get caught, I’m going to jail.”
Lovell asked her for a topless photo, if she would be interested in a threesome, if he could record them having sex and if she would snort cocaine with him. He then suggested they have sex “near the Tetons.”
Lovell later told police he had just been joking around.
A pretrial is set for Dec. 7 with a trial scheduled for Jan. 27.