Lexington County sex offender sentenced to 50 years

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A Lexington County man pled guilty on Tuesday to sexually assaulting two minors over the course of several years.

Matthew Darazs, 39, pled guilty to three counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor – 2nd degree and one count of Assault and Battery – 1st degree. Circuit Court Judge William P. Keesley sentenced him to 50 years on multiple charges.

He will not receive parole.

"We commend the bravery of these young survivors and the hard work of law enforcement in this case...We are thankful that justice was served today," Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard said.

The West Columbia Police Department began an investigation on July 25, 2016, after one of the victims reported a series of sexual assaults.

The investigation determined that Darazs began sexually assaulting the victim as a young child. The victim was also threatened by Darazs at knife point when she was 16 years old.

A second victim, also a minor, reported that she had been sexually assaulted by Darazs.

Darzas confessed to the sexual assaults and the threat in a written statement to West Columbia Police Department investigators. Officers executed a search warrant of the home occupied by Darazs and located a described hunting knife.

Both victims described the long term emotional impact of the assaults. One victim stated, "I used to be terrified, I never knew what horrors each day would hold." A second victim said, "My childhood was taken. I continue to have flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety. This was my normal, my survival."

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Solicitor Kate Usry."We are grateful for the work of Inv. Chris Morris, Inv. Matt Deas, and Inv. Stacy Turner in this case. Sexual assault cases are among the most challenging cases that we prosecute. These investigators worked extensively to corroborate the victims' reports and to obtain the detailed admissions from Darazs. Their commitment to this case was essential in bringing forth this conviction," Usry said.

Investigator Stacy Turner of the West Columbia Police Department stated at the sentencing hearing, "I've been working sexual assault cases for eight years. I've never seen abuse as severe as this … he (Darazs) had no remorse."

Darazs is being transferred to the S.C. Department of Corrections to begin his sentence immediately.