ANDERSON — The Madison County Council is expected to consider adoption of a resolution calling for the resignation of Steve Sumner.
Sumner, R-2nd District, was arrested and charged on Dec. 21 on Level 6 felony charges of child solicitation and possession of child pornography.
A conviction carries a possible sentence of six months to 30 months and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Sumner was reelected to the Council Council in 2018 and his current term expires on Dec. 31, 2022.
The Madison County Council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers of the Madison County Government Center.
Included on the agenda is a resolution requesting that Sumner resign from the council.
If Sumner decides to resign, his position on the county council will be filled by a vote of the Republican Party precinct committeemen in the 2nd District.
Sumner’s cellphone was not accepting calls on Monday.
Indiana Code 36-2-3-9 allows for the expulsion of a member of the fiscal body (county council) and declaring the seat of a member vacant.
“The fiscal body may expel any member for violation of an official duty,” the state statute reads. “Declare the seat of any member vacant if the member is unable or fails to perform the duties of the member’s office.
“Adopt its own rules to govern proceedings under this section, but a two-thirds vote is required to expel a member of vacate a member’s seat,” the state code continues.
The draft resolution reads that because children are society’s most vulnerable and innocent victims of crime, the allegations are abhorrent and shocking to the conscience.
“While Councilman Sumner is deserving of due process, the allegations diminish his ability to represent the 2nd District of Madison County and render the Council ineffective and unable to carry out its duties,” the draft resolution reads. “The thoughts and prayers of the Council are with the victims and all those adversely affected and suffering as a result of these allegations.”
The resolution calls for Sumner’s immediate resignation to restore faith in the leadership of the Council and “begin to heal the damage done to our community.”
Councilman Ben Gale, R-at large, confirmed Monday that there is a resolution asking Sumner to resign.
“Several council members have heard from local residents,” Gale said. “There is a concern because of the allegations that constituents would be uncomfortable going to him.”
He said Sumner needs to decide if someone else can better serve the county.
“There are organizations wanting to show up and make statements,” Gale said. “That could hinder the council from conducting business.”
Russ Willis, chairman of the Madison County Republican Party, said he is aware that there is a consideration of a resolution seeking Sumner’s resignation.
The probable cause affidavit filed by the Indiana State Police alleges that Sumner performed sex acts on a girl under the age of 16 during the past two years.
The girl reportedly told investigators that Sumner provided her with an alcoholic beverage, touched her inappropriately, performed sex acts on her and tried to get her to touch him in a sexual manner.
Investigators found on Sumner’s cellphone 138 images of females exposing their breasts and genital areas, according to the affidavit.
The girl, who is now 16, told police she was not the person shown in two of the photographs.