Zanesville man accused of sexually assaulting children pleads not guilty at arraignment


By Christine Holmes, News Director

A 23-year-old Zanesville man charged in the sexual assaults of three children is facing a possible life sentence if convicted.

Joshua Kerns pleaded not guilty to more than a dozen charges in common pleas court Wednesday morning.

He is accused of sexually assaulting, raping and harming the victims.

The youngest at the time of the first assault was just eight-years-old.

According to Kerns’ indictment, the alleged dates of abuse ranged between July 2018 and January 2020.

He is charged with the following felonies:

  • Two counts of rape with a victim less than 10, first-degree felonies
  • Four counts of rape, first-degree felonies
  • One count of kidnapping with a sexual motivation specification, first-degree felony
  • One count of illegal use of a minor in a nudity oriented matter or performance, second-degree felony
  • Two counts of endangering children, second-degree felonies
  • Three counts of attempted rape, second-degree felonies
  • Two counts of sexual battery, third-degree felonies
  • Three counts of gross sexual imposition, third-degree felonies
  • One count of attempted illegal use of a minor in a nudity oriented matter or performance, a third-degree felony

Kerns is currently being held in the Muskingum County Jail on a $1 million bond.