Church Youth Worker James Downs Found Guilty in Sexual Abuse Case

“Predators are not what we think. They are common, regular people who appear trustworthy and come with references and validations,” she said. “Remember, right now a child is being abused by someone they trust.”

My thanks to KTAR.com for this story.

James Downs, a former church youth worker in Laveen, has been found guilty on charges related to the sexual abuse of three male children under the age of 15.

Downs, 34, was found guilty on 28 counts, including 14 counts that call for life in prison with no possibility of parole for 35 years – meaning consecutive prison sentences exceeding 500 years.

He is accused of abusing the children between June 2001 and September 2006.

“By committing these horrid crimes, this defendant grossly violated the trust he was given,” said Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas on Wednesday. “I am hopeful that these convictions, and the fact that this offender never again will be able to harm a child, can bring greater peace and healing to all involved.”

The defendant and victims attended New Destiny Christian Church.

Darla Gooden, the mother of two victims, made a statement Wednesday at the Maricopa County attorney’s office.

“Predators are not what we think. They are common, regular people who appear trustworthy and come with references and validations,” she said. “Remember, right now a child is being abused by someone they trust.”

Downs’ sentencing is scheduled for February 8.

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