Tahlequah Daily Press

December 10, 2012

Local man charged in sexual predator sting op

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A Tahlequah man picked up last month as part of an online sting aimed at catching sexual predators has been formally charged with two felonies.

Donald Lee Paden, 23, is accused of making lewd or indecent proposals to a child under 16, and soliciting sexual conduct or communication with a minor through use of technology.

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Deputy Jarrick Snyder said he created a fake online profile of a 13-year-old girl last August and worked with the district attorney’s office as the case progressed.

Paden made contact with the online profile, which he thought was a 13-year-old girl, and told Snyder several times that it didn’t bother him that he was talking to a teen, the deputy said. Paden then began asking sexual questions, and the back-and-forth conversations continued through November.

Snyder said Paden wanted the teen girl to have sex with him, but reportedly admitted he knew it was against the law. Paden continued to express his desire to meet the girl for sex, according to Snyder.

Snyder and the District Attorney’s investigators set up a meeting for Nov. 10 and waited for Paden to arrive. Paden continued to make contact with Snyder on that day, and tried to entice the “girl” out of the home. Authorities then surrounded Paden and arrested him.

After he was taken into custody, Paden allegedly admitted to authorities he intended to have sex with a teen girl.

Police searched Paden’s car and said they found several bottles of pills, bottles of alcohol, coloring books, and stuffed toys, among other items.

Court records show Paden pleaded guilty as a youthful offender to lewd molestation in Rogers County in 2005 and was ordered into a sex-offender treatment program under threat of a 10-year prison sentence if he failed.

Paden was released in 2008 and given permission to move in with a family member in Cherokee County, records show.

Paden is being held on a $40,000 bond. He pleaded not guilty and is set for a felony sounding docket on Jan. 7, 2013, at 9 a.m. in front of Associate District Judge Mark Dobbins.