PHILADELPHIA (January 23, 2023) — District Attorney Larry Krasner and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit announced the conviction of James McFadden (11/1/82) after a Philadelphia jury found the defendant guilty of numerous charges relating to the sexual abuse of his daughter, Destiny, over a six-year period starting when the survivor was only six years old. After a five-day trial, the jury found McFadden guilty of Rape of Child (F1); Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (F1); Unlawful Contact with Minor (F1); Endangering the Welfare of a Child (F3); and related charges. The survivor requested that only her first name be used.At the age of 13, Destiny summoned the courage to disclose the abuse she endured at the hands of her father by committing the details of this violence in a five-page handwritten letter that the mother later found in their Northeast Philadelphia home. The Children’s Alliance of Philadelphia subsequently conducted a recorded forensic interview that was later played at trial. McFadden was arrested and charged in February of 2015. The first trial, which started in 2018, resulted in a hung jury.
In addition to the courageous testimony given by the survivor, her mother also bravely testified at both trials about the domestic abuse, including physical violence against their daughter, committed over numerous years by McFadden. Others, including the survivor’s uncle and ex-boyfriend, also provided very important witness testimony to the jury. Her uncle shared details about driving the mother and daughter to the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit after the mother discovered the disclosure letter written by her daughter. Destiny’s ex-boyfriend also testified about his role in encouraging her to come forward with her terrible story after she shared details of the abuse with him.The defense presented a handful of character witnesses to counter the Commonwealth’s case, but Assistant District Attorney Roberto Valdes highlighted significant discrepancies between their testimonies given during the first and second trial that helped the jury render its final verdict.
“There are no words to describe the bravery and strength exhibited by this survivor and her loving family,” said DA Krasner. “I’m grateful to ADA Roberto Valdes for his meticulous prosecution of this very difficult case, and to the jury who delivered justice for this survivor. I also want victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence to know that our office stands with you, and that you can come forward to help us hold dangerous people accountable for their crimes. You are not alone.”“I am in awe of the courage displayed by this survivor. Destiny is quite literally the personification of resilience,” said ADA Valdes. “I also want to thank Assistant District Attorney Helen Park for her work on this case, the PPD’s Special Victims Unit, as well as the jurors who helped deliver justice in this truly tragic case. Without the courage of survivors, the professionalism of the DAO’s Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit led by Assistant District Attorneys Branwen McNabb, Cheryl Yankolonis, and Patricia McKinney, PPD’s SVU, and the commitment of Philadelphia’s juries, we would not be able to achieve just outcomes in these very important cases.” The defendant is scheduled for sentencing by the Hon. Deborah D. Cianfrani in April.
To report child sexual abuse, contact the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance hotline: 1-800-932-0313. To report domestic violence incidents, contact Women Against Abuse’s 24-hour Philadelphia Domestic Violence hotline: 1-866-723-3014.
CONTACT:[email protected]Dustin Slaughter, 215-686-8713,
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million residents of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually. Learn more about the DAO by visiting PhillyDA.org.