Teen testifies about threats, beatings by adoptive dad
DA: Whose blood is that? "Mine" he says
By: JOHN C. ENSSLIN
A 15-year-old boy testified Thursday that after nearly three years of beatings that he’d had enough.
It was Jan. 3, 2010, exactly three years to the day that his adoptive dad Jeremiah Lovato had brought the boy back to live with him in Colorado.
The boy said Lovato had sent him to the backyard of their El Paso County home to fetch a piece of wood that could be used to hit him.
“I was just afraid of more beatings,” the youngster told jurors. “I was tired of it.”
So he jumped a fence and ran to neighbors for help. As a result, Lovato, a 40-year-old maintenance worker for the Colorado Department of Transportation, is on trial this week on charges of child abuse, assault and sex assault. The boy has been placed with a foster family.
The sex charge involves an allegation that Lovato stomped on the boy’s genitals. The Gazette, which normally does not name the victims of sex assault, is withholding the boy’s name.
The teen testified for nearly three hours, staying calm and unemotional, but swiveling back and forth in the witness chair the entire time.
Under questioning by Chief Deputy District Attorney Diana K. May, the boy identified a two-foot section of lumber, snapped off on one end and dark brown on the other.
“That’s one of the pieces he used to beat me,” the boy said.
May asked about the dark colored end of the stick.
“I would say it’s dried blood,” the boy said.
“Whose blood?” May asked.
“Mine,” he replied.
The boy said the beatings, which began when they lived in Craig and continued after they moved to El Paso County, usually happened when Lovato felt the youngster had not performed a household chore.
When May asked why he never told school or adoption officials the truth about what was happening, the youngster replied he was afraid of what Lovato might do.
“I can remember one particular threat,” the boy testified. “He (Lovato) said if he ever ends up going to prison because of me that when he comes out, he’s going to come looking for me.”
Lovato’s defense attorney Shimon Kohn has conceded that his client bears some responsibility for the boy’s injuries, which included an untreated broken arm. But Kohn said the defense disputes some of the 24 counts filed against Lovato.
Kohn will have a chance to cross-examine the boy when testimony resumes on Friday.