Special judge named in Sumner case

Ken de la Bastide, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.
·2 min read

Mar. 5—ANDERSON — A Grant County judge has been appointed to preside over the criminal case involving Madison County Councilman Steve Sumner.

Sumner was arrested on felony criminal charges of child solicitation and possession of child pornography in December.

Grant County Superior Court 1 Judge Jeffrey Todd was appointed by Madison County Clerk Olivia Pratt after all the local judges recused themselves from the case.

All the Madison County judges are members of the Republican Party, the same political affiliation as Sumner.

Earlier this year, Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings, also a Republican, removed himself from the case, and Patrick Harrington, the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor, has been appointed to handle the case.

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

Sumner, 52, currently represents District 2 on the Madison County Council, having been elected to a second term in 2018.

Sumner can continue to serve as a member of the Madison County Council until the court case is resolved.

If he is convicted on a felony charge, he will be unable to continue to serve on the county council.

A conviction carries a possible sentence of six months to 30 months and a maximum fine of $10,000.

The 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.

During the investigation, Sumner's cell phone was provided to the state police.

On the cell phone, investigators found 138 images of females in various stages of undress, exposing their breasts and genital areas, according to the affidavit.

The 16-year-old girl confirmed to police she was in several of the photographs.

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