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Madison County Council member charged with child seduction

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — A Madison County Council member was formally charged Tuesday with child seduction and the possession of child pornography.

Steven Sumner, 52, of Anderson, engaged in seduction with a child younger than 16, police charge. State police began investigating on Aug. 28. Police said multiple interviews and the seizure of electronic devices led to the charges. State police provided no additional information about what led to the charges.

Redacted court documents obtained by News 8 allege Sumner performed sex acts on a girl under the age of 16 during the past two years. The investigation of Sumner was prompted by allegations made by the girl. In addition, investigators allegedly found 138 images of child pornography on Sumner’s cellphone.

The charges were filed Monday, Indiana State Police said. He had an initial court hearing by videoconference Tuesday afternoon, online records show. No additional court dates had yet been set.

Sumner was arrested after he turned himself in at the Madison County jail on Monday afternoon, state police said in a news release. However, Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger told News 8 by email about 3:40 p.m. Monday that Sumner has not turned himself in.

Online court documents also indicated the prosecutor filed a notice to seek habitual offender status. No details were provided.

Sumner, a Republican, was first elected to the council in 2014. He was reelected to a second four-year term in 2018.

A email to Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings was not immediately returned Monday afternoon.