Former county councilman's trial continued

Feb. 24—ANDERSON — The trial of former Madison County councilman Steve Sumner has been continued with no new date set.

Sumner, 53, is facing a total of 13 criminal charges for alleged sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16.

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

He was scheduled to go on trial Monday in Madison County Circuit Court Division 3, but a requested continuance by the defense was granted by Special Judge Jeffrey Todd of Grant County.

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

Sumner is currently free after posting a $5,000 bond.

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

Following his arrest in December 2021 Sumner said he was innocent of the charges.

He was initially arrested 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 2021.

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

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

Investigators obtained forensic information 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 the beginning of 2020, according to the charging information.

The girl told investigators Sumner indicated to her that looking at the images "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 other people in the house were sleeping.

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