MONROE, Ind. (WANE) – Adams Central Middle School assistant football coach Christopher Litchfield, 24, has been arrested on felony charges of sexual misconduct with a minor and child molestation. He was terminated Tuesday by Adams Central Community Schools after administrators were informed of the charges he’s facing.
Litchfield, who started working at Adams Central in May 2016, was arrested Monday night and is being held without bond with 12 felony charges against him from incidents that took place as far back as 2014 and as recent as just last month. According to court documents, Litchfield was also a substitute teacher in the district and sometimes came to the school during lunch hours to speak with students on behalf of the religious organization Campus Life.
Police say Litchfield touched five different boys over a five year period. He is facing six counts of felony sexual misconduct with a minor and five counts of felony child molestation. He is also facing one count of felony residential entry, after police say he entered a home where one of his victim’s lived, without consent, to watch him while he slept.
Back in August, a boy told one of his football coaches that he and some friends were getting some strange text messages from Litchfield that made him uncomfortable. From there, authorities were able to identify several students who said they had received text messages, SnapChats, and photos containing questions and photos that made them uncomfortable.
Adams Central Community Schools Superintendent Joel Mahaffey said they became aware of the situation on August 19 after a staff member brought the attention of a administration, who then informed police. The school suspended Litchfield pending the investigation and terminated his employment once the charges were handed down.
In a press release, Mahaffey said “We are deeply distressed to learn of the arrest of Adams Central employee Christopher Litchfield on multiple counts of sexual misconduct,” adding “Our first priority at Adams Central Community Schools is to educate children in a safe environment. We feel our systems to prevent the hiring of anyone who might put students in danger are very strong.”
Litchfield was required to pass a background check before being hired. Mahaffey said his file did not contain any reprimands.
Krystal Harms, whose children attend Adams Central, said her kids knew Litchfield through school as well as an after-school program through First Missionary Church called House 1:14. According to Harms, her children liked Litchfield and the charges have been an eye-opening experience for them.
“She’s like, oh, I love him, he was just there handing out candy at the school and it’s like, it’s scary,” said Harms. “It’s a church house, it’s somewhere I thought my kids could go after school while I’m working and be safe and I’ve learned a lot in the last two weeks they’re really not safe anywhere. We had to talk about, you know, you’re not safe anywhere and you need to tell somebody if something happens because it’s not okay. And I think it made her realize too that she’s got to watch her surroundings. It’s not just on TV.”
Suzie Loshe described Monroe as small but tight-knit, and said many outside of the school are upset by the news.
“It’s a really good town, but since this’s happened, you know, I just heard it inside, there’s going to be a lot of angry people,” said Loshe. “It’s not just parents. And I’m one of them.”
Mabel Miller said that she believes the news has been shocking because many in the community did not think something like this could happen, but she’s not surprised Litchfield was caught because of how he was communicating with the boys.
“I think now with social media and the cell phone and all that, it’s easier to catch them,” said Miller. “I think that it’s terrible, naturally, and I think that it’s a shock to this community because you always see it happening elsewhere. You never see it happening in little old Monroe, Indiana.”
Each of the victims referenced in this report attended Adams Central during the time when the alleged criminal activity occurred. His initial hearing is scheduled for Thursday, September 12.
As a part of the Youth for Christ (YFC) organization Campus Life, Lichtfield would visit Adams Central during lunch hours. YFC of Adams, Blackford, Grant, Jay, and Wells Counties said, “Our primary concern is the well-being of the victims of these crimes. We are praying for the victims and their families.”
YFC says immediately terminated Licthfield’s involvement with Campus Life upon learning of the allegations, and that he is no long affiliated with the organization in any capacity.
This story has been corrected to indicate Christopher Lichtfield was an assistant football coach at Adams Central Middle School.