Man charged with rape, aggravated kidnapping following incident at hotel in St. George

Stock image of St. George Police patrol unit, St. George, Utah, July 9, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Hurricane man with a prolific arrest record has been charged with rape and aggravated kidnapping after allegedly detaining and sexually assaulting a woman at a hotel in downtown St. George.

John Chase Loveridge, 36, made an initial appearance in 5th District Court Friday facing the two first-degree felony charges as well as a misdemeanor assault charge. The suspect remains in custody on $43,100 bail.

The case stems from an incident Wednesday when officers were called to investigate a report of a possible kidnapping and assault. The woman who reported the incident told police that while staying at the Best Western hotel on St. George Boulevard, she noticed a man who appeared to be intoxicated and offered to help carry his items to his hotel room.

As she was helping the suspect, the report states she noticed a gun in his waistband. After she placed the items in Loveridge’s room, he asked her to eat with him in her room, an offer she subsequently declined.

As she turned to leave, however, police say the suspect shut and locked the door and then threw the woman on the bed and held her down as he began removing her clothing. At some point, the woman was able to sit up, and she continued telling the suspect she wanted to leave. According to police, every time she attempted to exit the room, the suspect would block the door.

John Chase Loveridge, 36, of Hurricane, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Sept. 24, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St George News

After about 40 minutes, she was allowed to leave his room. She then ran into her room and locked the door but could reportedly hear the suspect outside of her room throughout the night. The following morning, she reported she could hear Loveridge asking hotel staff to open her hotel room door, a request the staff refused.

The woman called the front desk and requested an escort off the property, and then she contacted police to report the incident. She also reported that during a conversation with hotel staff, she was told that the handgun the suspect had in his waistband was actually an airsoft gun.

Even so, the officer noted, “from what she could tell, it was a gun.”

Officers noted several “large” bruises on the woman’s arms, purportedly “from being picked up and thrown on the bed,” the officer wrote, adding that the woman is just over 5 feet tall and 100 pounds, compared to the suspect, who stands nearly 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds.

Loveridge was interviewed by officers at the jail, where he allegedly admitted to meeting the reporting party and corroborated much of her statement, but he denied holding the woman against her will, telling the officers that “all he asked for was to cuddle and watch a movie.”

The following day, Loveridge was formally charged with rape, along with the assault and aggravated kidnapping charges originally listed in the report.

Defendant involved in other open cases

Wednesday’s incident is one of four cases filed against the defendant since June.

A case filed two months ago resulted in the suspect being charged with third-degree felony assault and two misdemeanors, including resisting arrest and possession of marijuana following an incident reported at Sand Hollow State Park July 26.

Emergency personnel on boats at Sand Hollow State Park, Hurricane, Utah | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

During the incident, the main office received a call from a park visitor reporting that a man had just threatened him and his family with a gun, according to charging documents filed with the court.

The reporting party told park rangers the incident began when a boater, later identified as Loveridge, was stranded at the dock and asked him for help pulling his boat out of the water. When the man failed to respond, the report states the suspect “reached down and came back up with a black handgun,” which he held at chest level and pointed in the direction of the visitor, who was boating at the park with his children, ages 8, 11 and 16. That is when the visitor called police.

Rangers located the suspect, who was arrested and transported to jail. Officers also determined that the gun involved in the incident was in fact an airsoft gun.

He was formally charged for the incident July 27 and released from jail six days later.

Also in July, Loveridge was in custody at the Garfield County Jail for intoxication and disorderly conduct offenses when he asked one of the corrections officers to retrieve some property from his vehicle that was parked in Panguitch.

Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and Jail facility on 700 West in Panguitch, Utah | Photo courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

The officer retrieved the items and while searching the fanny pack to make sure the items were safe to bring into a correctional facility, the officer found a green leafy substance consistent with marijuana in a plastic container, along with three financial cards that did not belong to the suspect.

Loveridge was subsequently charged with three third-degree felony counts of unlawful acquisition of a financial card and a misdemeanor drug charge and bail was set at $16,110. Six days later the defendant was released, and six days after that, he would be arrested for the Sand Hollow incident.

In June, Loveridge faced multiple charges for an incident at a campground in Washington County, where the suspect was seen driving recklessly, yelling and spinning his tires to throw sand on nearby campers. When he ran out of gas, he began asking the other campers if they had any gas they could give him.

Witnesses told police the suspect began yelling racial slurs at them, and when the suspect’s threats became more serious, they called police. A number of witnesses told officers that the suspect allegedly showed multiple individuals a gun he kept on his hip, which he reportedly reached for as he threatened them, telling them to “call the cops. I own them and the FBI,” police stated in the report.

According to police, the weapon Loveridge was reportedly brandishing was an “airsoft handgun.”

The suspect was booked into jail on June 24 and later charged with two misdemeanors, one count each of brandishing a weapon and driving on a suspended license, as well as disorderly conduct, an infraction. Four days later the suspect was released. Within two weeks, the suspect would be back in jail for offenses related to the other incidents.

All cases listed are still pending with the courts. Following his most recent arrest, Loveridge remains in custody on $43,100 bail.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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