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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Victim Testifies of Seven Years of Sexual Abuse

LAWRENCE COUNTY - AUGUST 25 -2022 - The trial of Joshua Stevens continued on Thursday morning. Stevens has been charged with five counts of child molestation and appeared in court this morning.


Joshua Stevens


The State of Indiana rested its case this morning around 11:30 a.m. and the trial is expected to resume until 1:00 p.m. when the defense may or may not present its case to the jury.


The victim testified this morning describing the abuse starting at the age of 4 and lasting until the age of 11. The victim telling her grandmother about the abuse on Thanksgiving Day 2019, and the abuse stopped.


The family members contacted authorities, and investigation began.


According to testimony today, the victim described the abuse starting as fondling before Stevens sexually abusing her with his hands, pens, markers, and his private parts.


Neither the mother nor her grandmother was aware of the abuse at the time. During testimony the maternal grandmother testifying that Stevens and the victim was all the time whispering all the time. The grandmother was equally concerned when the victim and Stevens would go into the bathroom together.


The Steven's had been married over a 14-year period of time living in several homes throughout Lawrence County and at one time was living in a tent in the Needmore area.


The victim's mother had to work over 40 hours each week, and the abuse occurred while she was away. On a couple occasion the sexual encounters occurred at the grandparents' home, and in a tent where they were staying at the time


The victim testified that Stevens as being angry after he was done committing the sexual acts and calling her bad names, he would tell her to leave the room Stevens would tell her not to tell no one.


" If you tell anyone, I will go to jail and never see you again," Stevens would tell the victim.


During opening statements on Tuesday Defense Attorney Bruce Andis maintained that the victim fabricated the story as not wanting to live with her parents.


On Wednesday the Lawrence County Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Kempf asked that the video interview with Melissa Brown that was taken at Suzie's Place be entered into evidence after Andis made the assertion in his opening statements.


Lawrence County Superior Court I Judge John Plummer stated he could not rule on the matter until after the victim testifies.


Following the victim's testimony this morning, Judge Plummer ruled that the video evidence could be used.


The video was viewed by the jury this morning with the testimony by the victim consistent with what the video showed at Suzie's Place during the interview on January 9, 2020.


The trial is expected to go to the jury deliberation later this afternoon.


A jury of twelve was selected with two alternates consisting of 10 men and four women. One juror was released after she told the Judge she could no longer serve.


The trial was delayed on Wednesday morning, after Steven's who did not attend the trial on Tuesday was brought to the courtroom by transport officers of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department.


Stevens remained in custody at the Lawrence County Jail and will be brought to and from the Lawrence County to court. Steven's originally waived his right to attend the trial on Tuesday, before stating he will now attend the trial.


Lawrence County Zephyr will provide updates on the trial.


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