PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 1, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that Matthew Darden, age 44, was convicted on Sept. 1, 2016, of Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse of a Child, Aggravated Indecent Assault of a Child, Unlawful Contact with a Minor, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Corruption of Minors.
“Matthew Darden not only sexually assaulted his 12-year-old stepdaughter on multiple occasions but was also grooming his disabled stepson to be his next victim. I would like to thank the jury for their service, and expect their verdict will keep the defendant off the streets for decades to come,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “One in four women and one in six men will be sexually assaulted before their eighteenth birthday but help is available by calling the Women Organized Against Rape Hotline at 215-985-3333 or 9-1-1.”
The defendant repeatedly sexually abused his 12-year-old stepdaughter in the family’s Southwest Philadelphia home in 2011 after convincing the victim that he had to perform “spiritual rituals” on her to rid her of curses. The rituals involved sexual abuse. The victim did not tell her mother because she thought she would not be believed. A year later the victim finally told her mother, but her mom did not call police; instead, the victim was sent to live with her father in Georgia. The victim returned to Philadelphia when she was 16 and after the defendant sexually assaulted her again, she told her school counselor and the crimes were reported to police.
Prosecuting Attorney Elizabeth Fischer stated, “This child showed remarkable courage in testifying and the jury’s decision holds this defendant accountable and protects other children in our city.”
The victim’s mother refused to cooperate with police and visited the defendant several times in prison. Evidence came forward at trial that the defendant was also showing pornography to his stepson who is wheelchair-bound minor, showing a possible pattern of grooming him for sexual contact.
The defendant will be sentenced on December 15, 2016, before the Hon. Judge Charles Cunningham III where he faces a maximum potential sentence of 47-94 years of incarceration. The defendant will also be a lifetime registrant under Megan’s Law. He has a lengthy multi-state criminal record, including convictions for Aggravated Assault and Arson in Florida, two arrests for Rape in Georgia, one of which pled to a lesser assault charge, and firearms convictions in Philadelphia.