Nationwide hunt ongoing for former Madison County councilman charged with child sex crimes

Sep. 5—ANDERSON — A nationwide search continues for former Madison County Councilman Steve Sumner.

Sumner, 52, faces 13 criminal charges, filed in 2020, for alleged sexual activity, including rape, involving a girl under the age of 16.

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

Sumner left custody after posting a $5,000 bond. The Madison County Prosecutor's office requested a higher bond, but the motion was denied by the special judge presiding over the case.

Sumner failed to appear for a court hearing in July, and the prosecutor's office has filed two additional felony charges of failure to appear.

Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said last week that the U.S. Marshal's office and the Indiana State Police are seeking information on Sumner's whereabouts.

If Sumner is apprehended, Madison County officials will seek to have him returned to Indiana.

"I have no idea why my client did not show up," Sumner's attorney Cody Cogswell said at the July hearing.

Cogswell, who was appointed to represent Sumner after attorney Bob Summerfield withdrew from the case, said he'd had no contact with his client.

According to charges, between July, 1, 2020, and Aug. 4, 2020, Sumner had sexual contact with a girl under the age of 16 who was compelled by force or the imminent threat of force.

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

Sumner was elected to county council from District 2 in 2018 and resigned from his seat in 2021.

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