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Darren Paden

A child sex abuse victim says she’s been denied housing after accusing a “good man” of molesting her for years — and Missouri prosecutors are mystified that so many community members are supporting the admitted sex offender.

Darren Paden was sentenced to 50 years in prison Friday after pleading guilty in August to two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy — but friends, family members, church elders and community leaders begged a judge to go easy on him.

Prosecutors said the 52-year-old Paden sexually abused the girl up to 300 times over a decade, beginning before she was 5 years old. His 28-year-old son, Anthony Paden, was also charged with sex abuse, although his case remains pending.

But community members have turned their backs on the girl, who is now 18 years old and testified against her abuser in court, and rallied around Paden.

“There are certainly a few good people in this community who have offered support to this young victim,” said Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd. “It is shocking, however, that many continue to support a defendant whose guilt was never in doubt. If it takes a village to raise a child, what is a child to do when the village turns its back and supports a confessed child molester?”

 

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