EXCLUSIVE: Grand jury indicts Rankin County tax assessor on sexual battery following 3 On Your Side investigation

Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 6:29 PM CDT
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RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - John Sullivan, the tax assessor who called himself a professional drunk and bragged about sexual exploits to officers on video obtained by 3 On Your Side, has been indicted on sexual battery and assault charges stemming from an incident that happened a few hours after those risque conversations.

Rankin County’s circuit clerk made the four-count indictment public on Friday, which detailed three counts of sexual battery and one of simple assault against Sullivan from a county grand jury.

Specifically, the indictment details three sexual acts with an unidentified victim, who at the time was described as a “physically helpless person,” stemming from an encounter on March 26 in Rankin County.

Sullivan’s initial charge after being arrested by the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office indicated Sullivan was accused of giving the victim a substance or liquid that prevented them from resisting.

Documents obtained by 3 On Your Side showed that incident happened at Sullivan’s Florence home.

The grand jury also indicted Sullivan on a simple assault charge for throwing the victim on his bed by grabbing her by the throat.

Hours before this confrontation, our investigation revealed Sullivan got stopped by Byram police for driving under the influence.

While in custody, videos obtained by WLBT through a public records request show Sullivan told authorities he was going back to his place to have sex in the hot tub.

“There’s some good-looking [expletive] whores back there,” Sullivan told Byram Police Officer Shawn Walters. “Four of them [expletive] going in the hot tub.”

Two hours after being released on his own recognizance by Byram police, dispatch reports say someone called 911 to report Sullivan raped a 19-year-old woman.

Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey told 3 On Your Side his department turned the case over to the AG because they didn’t want to give the appearance of any impropriety since it involved another elected official in the county.

Sullivan remains in office.

His trial on these charges is set for next year.


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