Court records outline allegations against Sumner

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Jul. 16—ANDERSON — Former Madison County Councilman Steve Sumner is facing a maximum prison sentence of 57 years if convicted on a charge of rape and 12 other charges.

The additional charges were filed Wednesday against Sumner, 52, who is now facing a total of 13 criminal charges for alleged sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16.

If convicted, Sumner faces a possible sentence ranging from 10 to 57 years and maximum fines of up to $120,000.

The most serious charge is a rape as a Level 3 felony.

The new charging information for the rape charge states that between July, 1, 2020, and Aug. 4, 2020, Sumner did knowingly or intentionally have sexual contact with a girl under the age of 16 when the person was compelled by force or the imminent threat of force.

Following his arrest in December, Sumner said he was innocent of the charges.

The state has asked for a new bond to be set by special judge Jeffrey Todd of the Grant County Superior Court 1.

Following an investigation by the Indiana State Police and the FBI, the Madison County Prosecutor's office filed Level 6 felony charges against Sumner on Dec. 21.

He was arrested initially on criminal charges of child solicitation and possession of child pornography, both Level 6 felonies.

Sumner was elected to the Madison County Council from District 2 in 2018 and resigned from his seat on the council in May.

He also served as a pastor with the Lighthouse Church in Anderson.

The probable cause also states that on multiple occasions, Sumner would open the curtain when the girl was taking a shower and at one point he climbed into the shower and asked the girl to wash the soap off of him.

Investigators obtained forensic information from both Sumner's and the girl's cell phones. On Sumner's cell phone, investigators found numerous images and videos of a young nude female.

The girl said all but two of the photographs were of her, taken in 2019 or early in 2020, according to the charging information.

The girl told investigators Sumner indicated to her he looked at the images and it "turned him on."

She also said that in August 2020 Sumner entered her bedroom, asked her to get on the bed and touched her upper thigh with a vibrator while everyone else in the house was sleeping.

Several text messages showed that Sumner offered the girl alcohol and cigarettes starting last August.

The original probable cause affidavit filed by the Indiana State Police alleges that Sumner performed sex acts on a girl under the age of 16 for the past two years. The girl told investigators that Sumner provided her with an alcoholic beverage.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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