Bedford man sentenced to prison on child molestation charges

BEDFORD – A Lawrence County Superior Court I jury found 35-year-old Joshua J. Stevens guilty of all five felony child molestation charges on August 25, 2022.

Joshua Stevens

Judge John Plummer III, sentenced Stevens to 85 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections.

Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Kempf

“The heinous crime of child molesting adversely affects the life of the child in every way and the Honorable Judge Plummer sentenced Stevens to the fullest extent of the law serving Justice fully,” said Lawrence County Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Kempf.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jenny Tucker-Young

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jenny Tucker-Young said, “Judge Plummer set a strong message that defendants who commit the crime of Child Molest in Lawrence County will be punished to the full extent of the law.

Prosecutor Sam Arp

“These are difficult cases for everyone involved, a majority of my staff contributed to the successful efforts of this trial. Most importantly we are able to be the voice for the victim in this case and with the help of Lawrence County jurors the defendant has been held accountable for his horrible actions,” said Prosecuting Attorney Samuel C. Arp II.

Stevens was represented by Public Defenders Bruce Andis and Nicholas Moll. Prosecuting the case for the state were Deputy Prosecutors Lisa Kempf, and Jennifer Tucker-Young.

Judge John Plummer III

Judge John Plummer III presided over the three-day trial.

Stevens was arrested after a Bedford Police Department detective received a report on January 6, 2020, from the Indiana Department of Child Services alleging sexual abuse.

The victim was interviewed at Susie’s Place Child Advocacy Center and estimated the abuse occurred “around 90 times” in Bedford over the last seven years, according to the court records.

The victim testified the abuse began at the age of 4 and lasted until she turned 11. She told her grandmother about the abuse on Thanksgiving in 2019 and the abuse stopped. Family members then contacted authorities about the abuse. The child’s mother worked long hours and the abuse occurred while she was working and away from the home.

The victim told jurors that Stevens stated: “not to tell anyone, or I will go to jail and never see you again.”

Attorney Bruce Andis claimed the victim fabricated her story because she didn’t want to live with her parents.