Local News

Former state trooper admits to exposing himself

Posted February 18, 2011 10:07 a.m. EST
Updated February 18, 2011 2:55 p.m. EST

— A former state trooper pleaded guilty Friday to a single charge stemming from a traffic stop during which he admits to handcuffing a woman and later exposing himself.

L. Brandon Lovick, 32, who was a trooper for six years, pleaded guilty to one count of felonious restraint in connection with the May 24, 2010, traffic stop.

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens had harsh words for Lovick, saying his actions "sullied" and "stained" the work of every law enforcement officer.

As part of a plea deal, Lovick was fined $5,000 and sentenced to three years of probation, including six months of intensive supervision. He must surrender his law-enforcement certification, undergo a mental health evaluation and submit to DNA testing.

The now 20-year-old woman involved in the traffic stop said that she and her family didn't want Lovick to go to jail but did want to make sure he was out of law enforcement.

"She's been very courageous, but not angry and vindictive," Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said. "But at the same time, (she) feels that right is right and wrong is wrong."

Willoughby said he has reason to believe that Lovick was involved in another similar incident, but that woman chose not to press charges.

Lovick, who is married with three children, asked his family not to come to court Friday because he is ashamed, his lawyer James Crouch said.

"He's human, and he made a terrible mistake in judgment," Crouch said in court. "He's very sorry for it, and he's here to take responsibility before a judge."

The woman involved in the May 2010 traffic stop told an internal Highway Patrol investigator that Lovick also touched himself, forced her to expose her breasts and took her to a secluded area. She said she kept talking about her grandmother and family until Lovick let her go.

Lovick admitted to exposing himself, handcuffing the woman without arresting her and asking her if she was "wild," according to his statement to the internal affairs investigator, which the Highway Patrol released Friday. He denied touching himself and claimed she voluntarily exposed her breasts. He also said there were also two prior incidents in which women voluntarily showed their breasts to him. 

The woman in the May 2010 traffic stop reported it to Raleigh police, who connected it with a traffic stop by a trooper.

The patrol's internal affairs investigator recommended that Lovick be fired, but he had already resigned.

The Highway Patrol documents show that a third woman also complained about how Lovick treated her during a traffic stop on Oct. 5, 2009. She told an internal patrol investigator that Lovick offered to rip up her speeding ticket if she showed him her tattoo.

The report states that Lovick admitted to asking the woman if she was married and said that he saw part of her tattoo when she reached into her glove box, but he claimed that she voluntarily showed him the rest of it. He then ripped up the ticket, he said, out of fear "she would file a complaint against me if I issued her a citation."

The internal affairs investigator wrote that Lovick said he had a "mental lapse of judgment" because the woman "flirted with him by batting her eyes."

Lovick was cited for unbecoming conduct in that case and was suspended without pay for three days.

A State Bureau of Investigation review resulted in criminal charges in connection with the May 2010 traffic stop.