SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. — A Sevier County grand jury indicted a man for sex crimes involving a child months after authorities arrested him for sexual battery as an authority figure.
Joseph Kade Abbott, 26, worked for the First Apostolic Church of Maryville when he sexually assaulted a child on multiple occasions, according to a lawsuit filed in Aug. 2022. The lawsuit said the assaults happened in 2022.
The Blount County Sheriff's Office said it started investigating Abbott in June 2022 before he was arrested in North Carolina in January 2023. According to BCSO, he was accused of sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl.
On Feb. 27, a grand jury returned two new sexual battery charges against Abbott that accused him of having sexual contact with a child in Sevier County that was at least 13 years old. The indictment said the incidents happened between May 23 and May 26, 2022.
Abbott was due to appear in court in Blount County on March 17. His court date was pushed out a month to April 17.
The original lawsuit claimed the First Apostolic Church of Maryville and the Apostolic Christian Academy "exhibited an extreme degree of negligence" when supervising staff and students, which endangered children there.
It asked the church and Abbott to pay the minor a total of $3 million and asked them to pay the parents a total of $1.5 million.
An attorney for First Apostolic Church released a statement about the lawsuit in January below.
"Joseph Abbott is no longer employed by Apostolic Christian Academy. We cannot comment on matters involving pending litigation. Our prayers are with everyone involved."