Man sentenced to more than 7 years in prison for sexual abuse of child

Published 11:32 am Friday, June 2, 2023

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An Austin man was sentenced to seven years and seven months in prison Friday in Freeborn County District Court for sexually abusing a child in 2019.

Michael Scott Fadden, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in March. He initially faced six counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of attempted first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

District Court Judge Ross Leuning said he reviewed all of the files in the case and recognized the profound impact that Fadden’s behavior had.

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Leuning said Fadden’s case for a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines was also not helped by his poor performance on probation in the past. He said while he recognized the efforts at rehabilitation Fadden had made since his plea, he did not think Fadden’s case warranted a departure from the sentencing guidelines of 91 months.

Fadden’s lawyer, Cassandra Bautista, argued her client was amenable to probation and had begun treatment, trying to address concerns in his life to make sure something like this would never happen again.

Bautista said while they made no excuses for the behavior, Fadden had heartfelt remorse for his actions and acknowledged the severe impact he made on the victim and his family.

In her written motion to the court, she also argued that because of a mental impairment, Fadden lacked “substantial capacity for judgment when the offense was committed” and that substantial grounds existed that tend to excuse or mitigate his culpability.

Assistant Freeborn County Attorney Abigail Lambert said while Fadden may have remorse that he got caught, his psychological profile suggests he did not have remorse. She also pointed out probation violations from his previous charges.

Lambert said she did not think Fadden was particularly amenable to probation and said that crimes involving children should not deserve a departure.

The victim’s father spoke about the impact the abuse has had on his son, as well as his entire family.

He said he is in a constant state of fear of something happening to his children and that his son walks around like an empty shell of what he once was and takes actions to help him numb his feelings.

“Our whole life has been torn apart and ripped away from us,” he said.

Fadden will receive credit for five days already spent in the Freeborn County jail and will be required to serve 60 2/3 months in prison, with the remaining 30 1/3 months on supervised release.

Following the conclusion of the sentence, he will spend an additional 10 years on conditional release and have to register as a predatory offender.