Mother supports husband who raped 12-year-old daughter to rid her of curses

Sad girl (illustration) 
By: Tanya Malhotra

An abusive stepfather was arrested on a charge of indecent assault of a child after being accused of raping his stepdaughter multiple times, according to police in Pennsylvania.

Now, 44-year-old Matthew Darden of Philadelphia, faces up to 94 years in prison after being convicted 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.

According to the criminal complaint, the defendant repeatedly sexually abused his 12-year-old stepdaughter in the family’s home after convincing her that he had to perform spiritual rituals 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 years old, and after her stepfather sexually assaulted her again, she told her school counselor and the crimes were reported to police.

The victim’s mother refused to cooperate with police and visited her husband several times in prison. The stepfather showed pornography to his stepson who is wheelchair-bound, to groom him for sexual contact.

Darden has a lengthy multi-state criminal record, including convictions for aggravated assault and arson in Florida, two arrests for rape in Georgia, and firearms convictions in Philadelphia.