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Springfield man, detained; by neighbors, arrested on child-enticement charges as he is released from hospital

5-27-2009 Massachusetts:

SPRINGFIELD - Was it street justice that led to 61-year-old Randolph Barden's beating by neighbors earlier this month?

Or, was it some kind of vendetta on the part of the girls who accused him of attempting to lure them into his car with candy?

Barden's lawyer and a Hampden County assistant district attorney laid out their opposing views of Barden's beating in the McKnight neighborhood during his arraignment on child enticement charges Wednesday morning in Springfield District Court.

The beating that sent Barden to Baystate Medical Center for the better part of a week, occurred Friday night, according Sgt. John M. Delaney.

Officers Anthony Sowers and Craig Davis, dispatched to the area of Bay and Marion streets shortly after 9:30 p.m., discovered Barden laying on the ground suffering from injuries "and the whole neighborhood gathered around," Delaney said.

Delaney said detectives found Barden's car on Girard Avenue loaded with candy. It was towed as evidence.

Detectives arrested Barden, of 147 Marion St., Tuesday night as he was being released from Baystate. He is charged with four counts of enticing a child under 16, Delaney said.

After innocent pleas for Barden were entered in court, Assistant District Attorney Corrine A. Rock asked Judge Phillip Beattie to hold him in lieu of $100,000 cash bail.

Rock said that police officers were summoned to the area of Bay and Marion streets for a report of a disturbance on May 22.

"Apparently, the disturbance was the result of the defendant trying to lure young female children into his car with candy," Rock said.

The assistant district attorney made no mention of Rock's beating and said that adults in the neighborhood "detained" him until police arrived.

Rock said a passenger in Barden's car fled.

Rock said four girls told investigators that Barden, starting the week before his beating, drove his red Chevrolet Corsica slowly through the neighborhood and attempted to entice the girls into his car with candy.

At least one of the girls told investigators that Barden asked for her cell phone number, Rock said.

Delaney said the girls in question are between the ages of 10 and 12.

Rock's lawyer, Nancy A. Flahive, asked that her client be held in lieu of $5,000 personal surety.

Flahive said that Barden, who has New Hampshire plates on his Corsica, drove slowly because was new to the area.

Barden, Flahive said, has a full-time job in Ellington, Conn., and that his wife died in February.

"He certainly doesn't spend his day driving up and down the street looking to lure young girls into his car with candy," Flahive said.

Flahive suggested the girls didn't like her client, perhaps because he tended to drive slowly through the neighborhood.

"I think this is one of those instances where some of those young girls didn't like the looks of my client," Flahive said.

Beattie set Barden's bail at $10,000 cash, $100,000 surety, and ordered him to return June 22 for a pre-trial hearing.

Delaney said charges have not been filed against any of Barden's attackers. Because police did not witness the assault and battery, it would be up to Barden to file a complaint, Delaney said.

"I don't think he wants to," Delaney said.

Barden, wearing white tracksuit-style clothing, did not appear to have any visible injuries at his arraignment Wednesday.

The case is being investigated by Lt. Cheryl C. Clapprood and her team of detectives assigned to the Springfield Police Department's special victims unit, Delaney said. ..News Source.. by The Republican Newsroom

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