Benjamin Thomas Walden sentenced on child sex abuse charges
On Wednesday, Sept. 25, Washington County Judge Ricardo Menchaca sentenced Benjamin Thomas Walden, 44, to more than 27 years in prison on multiple child sex abuse charges.
In a trial that began earlier this month, Walden was convicted of first-degree rape, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration and five counts of first-degree sexual abuse.
In May 2018, a child disclosed sexual abuse to a family member. Walden periodically lived with the child's family member.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office conducted an investigation and the child was taken to CARES Northwest where she underwent a forensic interview. The child told staff that Walden sexually abused her and that he urged her not to tell anyone what happened after the abuse.
"Shortly after the abuse occurred, Mr. Walden sent multiple text messages to the child and her family member," read a press release from the Washington County District Attorney's Office. "He apologized for his actions but also confessed his love for the child. He also said via these messages that he had done something wrong and was guilty. These messages proved vital to the state's case against Mr. Walden."
Walden was on the run from authorities for several months until he was arrested in Washington State, according to the District Attorney's Office.
"While in custody at the Washington County Jail, Mr. Walden also violated jail rules by manufacturing contraband," the press release said. Court records show the contraband was alcohol.
Judge Menchaca sentenced Walden to an additional 11 months in prison on this charge and ordered this time be served consecutively with his previous sentence.
Court records also show Walden requested a new attorney while in custody because they "weren't getting along."
Investigators are concerned there may be additional victims who have yet to come forward.
"We urge anyone with information about possible criminal conduct involving Mr. Walden to call law enforcement immediately," the District Attorney's Office said.
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