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Sebeka man charged with orchestrating years of sexual abuse

A man from Sebeka and Verndale faces six serious felony charges for allegedly carrying out years of sexual abuse on two children.

Joseph Clinton Cannon, 43, was charged Oct. 25 with six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, each with a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and/or a $40,000 fine.

Investigators allege the abuse took place between June 8, 1998 and June 30, 2011 and involved two children, one born in 1994 and one born in 1993.

The female victim was unable to speak about the abuse, and had to write out what had happened to her and give it to the investigator, court records said. She alleged Cannon had sexually abused her starting at age 4, and forced sexual activity with her for seven years. The girl detailed a history of degrading and repeated abuse, and told investigators she had told her mother about the abuse, but her mother didn't believe her, so she assumed no one else would believe her either.

The mother was also forced to perform sexual acts in front of other people, she told investigators, and talked about one time when she came home from the hospital after having had a hysterectomy and was forced to have sex despite her doctor's warning it could kill her.

Another alleged victim, a boy, told investigators he was abused for roughly 10 years and was threatened not to talk about the abuse. The boy said they would perform sexual acts to be spared a physical beating, often with a belt.

The allegations of abuse were first made in June, and an investigator met with Cannon on Aug. 25 to confront him with the accusations. He was Mirandized and requested to have an attorney present, at which point the interview ended.