INVERNESS, Fla. – Jeffrey Lynn Bell, 45, of Inverness, Florida, was arrested on a warrant for the charges of Sexual Battery on a Child under 12 and Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a Child under 12 in reference to several incidents that occurred between March 2020 and March 2021.
On December 1, 2022, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) was contacted by the parent of the juvenile victim in this case.
The parent told deputies that the victim had disclosed to them that they had been sexually abused by 45-year-old Bell. Detective Ryan Brown with the CCSO’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) was assigned to the case, and immediately began an investigation.
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During an interview with the Child Protection Team (CPT) at Jessie’s Place Child Advocacy Center, the victim stated that Bell had touched them in a sexual manner on multiple occasions while visiting their friend at a residence in Inverness.
As the investigation continued, evidence was obtained that supported the victim’s allegations. Detective Brown consulted with the State Attorney’s Office, and a warrant was issued for Bell’s arrest.
On December 21, 2022, Detective Brown made contact with Bell during a traffic stop. Bell declined to speak with Detective Brown and was placed under arrest for his warrant.
“Bell gained the trust of the victim and their family, and used his position to take advantage of the victim for sexual gratification,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “His actions are even more heinous due to the fact he repeated these actions multiple times over the course of a year. The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is committed to finding justice for all victims in our community. We hope that this arrest is the beginning of the healing process for this victim and their family.”
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Bell is currently being held at the Citrus County Jail without bond. No additional reports against Bell have been made.