Defendant Sentenced to Sixty-One Years for Sexually Abusing an Eight-Year-Old
Prosecutors in DA Charme Allen’s Child Abuse Unit obtained a sixty-one-year sentence against a man who sexually abused an eight-year-old child. Joseph Steven Owen, 72, was set for trial in October, but before jury selection began, he pled guilty-as-charged to two counts of Rape of a Child and three counts of Aggravated Sexual Battery. At a sentencing hearing today, Judge Steve Sword ordered Owen to serve sixty-one years in prison without the possibility of parole.
Assistant District Attorneys Jordan Murray and Ashley McDermott explained to the Court that on January 19, 2022, the victim entered the Family Justice Center and disclosed to Knox County Sheriff’s Office Detective Caleb Shuford that she had been sexually abused by Owen beginning when she was eight years old. The abuse continued for approximately two years. At the direction of law enforcement, the victim made a recorded phone call to Owen. During the phone call, Owen made several admissions about performing sexual acts on the victim when she was eight.
“The willingness of this victim to come forward and confront her abuser led to the conviction, and because of this conviction, this perpetrator will spend the rest of his life in prison,” said DA Charme Allen.
At the sentencing hearing, the victim explained how this abuse has affected her life. She told the Court that two life sentences were handed down in this case: one for Owen and one for her as she will spend the rest of her life dealing with the repercussions of Owen’s actions. Assistant Victim Witness Coordinator Erin Morrison aided in the prosecution of this case.
If you have any questions, please contact Sean McDermott at 865-215-2515 or [email protected]. For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at dag.knoxcountytn.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.