Knox County District Attorney General - Charme P. Allen

Defendant Convicted of Abusing Eleven-Year-Old

Posted: 11/10/2021

Prosecutors in DA Charme Allen’s Child Abuse Unit obtained convictions against a defendant who sexually abused an eleven-year-old child.  Joshua Steven Sullivan, 40, was convicted of two counts of Rape of a Child, one count of Attempted Rape of a Child, and one count of Aggravated Sexual Battery.  Judge Steve Sword set the case for sentencing on January 14, 2022, where Sullivan faces at least twenty-five to forty years in prison without the possibility of parole.

In a three-day trial, Assistant District Attorneys Ashley McDermott and Jordan Murray explained to the jury that Sullivan was dating the victim’s mother and lived in the home with the victim.  On September 2, 2019, Sullivan sexually abused the eleven-year-old victim.  Later that night, the victim disclosed the abuse to her friend, sister, and mother.  The victim was taken to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital for a sexual assault examination where DNA was recovered that was consistent with Sullivan.  After the victim left the home to go to the hospital, Sullivan fled the scene but called his son who was still at the home and instructed him to wash the victim’s sheets.  Sullivan made his son show him over Facetime that he was placing the sheets in the washing machine.  The Knox County Sheriff’s Office responded to both the hospital and the home.  The victim was taken to ChildHelp USA for a forensic interview where she disclosed the abuse.  At trial, Sullivan testified that his son committed the offense.  The jury discredited this testimony, believed the victim, and found him guilty.

“As prosecutors, we fight to give a voice to victims,” said DA Charme Allen.  “This is most important when those victims are children.”

Rape of a Child is a Class A felony that carries a punishment between twenty-five and forty years in prison without the possibility of parole.  In a follow-up interview at ChildHelp, the victim disclosed a year of abuse at the hands of Sullivan.  Prosecutors will use that evidence at sentencing to seek the maximum sentence.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean McDermott at 865-215-2515 or sean.mcdermott@knoxcounty.org.  For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at www.knoxcounty.org/dag and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Knox County Tennessee - District Attorney General Seal
City County Building 400 Main Street
Suite 168
Knoxville, TN 37902