KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville man will spend at least the next 25 years behind bars for sexually abusing the 11-year-old daughter of the woman he was dating.

Joshua Steven Sullivan, 40, was found guilty in Knox County Criminal Court of two counts of rape of a child and one count each of attempted rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery.

According to the district attorney’s office, Sullivan was dating the victim’s mother and living in their home in September 2019 when he sexually abused the 11-year-old. The victim disclosed the abuse to a friend, sister and mother later that night. In a follow-up interview, the victim disclosed Sullivan started the abuse a year before September 2019.

The victim was taken to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital for an exam where DNA was recovered. Sullivan left the home but instructed his son who was still at the home to wash the victim’s bedsheets. 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 Knox County District Attorney General 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 25 and 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole.