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DEARBORN, Mo. — Two-and-a half years after charges were brought, a Dearborn man has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a young girl on a regular basis over a period of six to eight years.

Darren L. Paden, 52, pleaded guilty Monday, August 17 to sexually abusing the girl once or twice a month from the time she was five or six years old until she was 12 or 13.

“While this defendant admitted to his horrible crimes the day he was arrested, he continually delayed his day of reckoning,” said Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd.  “Sadly, during that time, many in the community sided with him, compounding the trauma experienced by his victim.  Now there can be no doubt:  Darren Paden repeatedly committed monstrous acts against a young girl.”

Paden admitted he began watching pornographic movies with the girl in 2001 or 2002.  After watching a pornographic movie with her while she was 5 or 6 years old, Paden began sexually assaulting the girl. Paden claims he abused the child once or twice a month, over a period of at least six years. Paden told the girl it was “their little secret” and that she should not tell her mother or anyone else.

Darren Paden on left, Anthony Paden on right.

In 2013, Darren Paden’s son, Anthony Paden, 28, was charged with sodomizing the same girl.  Anthony Paden is scheduled to be in court on the sodomy charge on September 10.

When interviewed by detectives, the elder Paden also wrote letters apologizing to the victim and his family for what he had done.  Despite the confession and apology letters, Paden refused to plead guilty to his crimes for more than two years.

Zahnd said his office would seek 30-year sentences on each count.  By law, those sentences must be run consecutively, which would result in a 60-year prison sentence. Sentencing is scheduled on October 2 at 11:00 a.m.

“Those who may have believed the whispers of denial now know the truth.  Darren Paden preyed on a defenseless girl again and again.  He deserves sympathy from no one.  He deserves justice, and justice demands that he spend the rest of his life in prison,” said Zahnd.

Even on Monday, when FOX 4 went around the small town and knocked on doors, we talked to more than a dozen people off-camera who were shocked by the charges. Some even defended him, others called the accusations rumors, despite Paden’s guilty plea. Others just said they thought the charges had been dropped because they didn’t believe there was anyway Paden could’ve done this.