Former Glendive dinosaur museum director arrested for incest

By: 
By JASON STUART
Yellowstone Newspaper Group Staff Writer

Former director of the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum Darrin Wayne Clinton is photographed after being charged with incest.
Photo courtesy of Glendive Ranger Review

Editor’s Note: This article, which first ran in the Glendive Ranger Review, contains details taken from public court documents which some readers may find offensive. 

 

The former director of the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, substitute teacher for Glendive Public Schools and frequent guest pastor and speaker at local churches is in jail after being charged with 136 counts of incest.

Darrin Wayne Clinton, 47, was charged on Tuesday due to an alleged sexual relationship he had with two of his juvenile sons. Clinton is currently being held in the Dawson County Correctional Facility on a $100,000 bond. Under Montana law, a conviction for a single count of incest carries a minimum penalty of life or 100 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000. 

According to the charging documents filed Tuesday in Dawson County Justice Court, the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office was alerted on Monday by Child Protective Services that they had received a call about sexual abuse in the Clinton home. Deputy Brett Hoagland contacted Clinton’s wife, Michelle Clinton, who agreed to come in and meet him for an interview.

During that interview, according to the court documents, Michelle Clinton disclosed to Hoagland that she had uncovered evidence of sexual abuse between her husband and one of their sons. The documents state that she told Hoagland she had confronted Darrin about it and that he “disclosed to her that these actions had taken place.” The court documents go on to state that Michelle provided Hoagland “with items of written text” by Darrin “that discloses the nature of the relationship.” Michelle also advised Hoagland that she had discovered a sexual relationship between her husband and another of the couple’s sons.

Later that day, according to the court documents, Darrin Clinton came in to speak to Hoagland “of his own free will.” The court documents state that during that interview, Darrin “did disclose a sexual relationship” with two of his adopted sons.

“He admitted to some things,” Sheriff Ross Canen said Thursday.

Following the interviews with Michelle and Darrin, Hoagland arranged a “forensic interview” with the two sons with whom Darrin allegedly had a sexual relationship. According to the court documents, both boys “indicated a sexual relationship with the defendant...”

The interviews with the boys revealed the full extent of the alleged inappropriate relationship. Hoagland used the starting dates for the alleged relationships and the frequency with which the acts are alleged to have occurred to calculate the 136 counts against Darrin.

Darrin Clinton’s arrest and the allegations against him have left some of his former employers to answer very uncomfortable questions.

Glendive Public Schools Superintendent Ross Farber said Clinton worked part-time for the school system until very recently. Clinton was an accompanist for the choir program and had performed “a limited amount of substitute teaching” for the school district, Farber said. He added he believes the last time Clinton worked for the district was at a student choir concert this May.

Asked if Clinton had ever traveled overnight with students, Farber said “not to my knowledge.”

“I think he went to the music festival in Billings, but I think he traveled on his own,” Farber said, though he added he “can’t verify that.”

Farber stressed that Clinton, like all employees the district hires who work with children, had been put through a screening process and background check prior to being employed by the district. Farber noted that those background checks are performed by the Montana Department of Justice.

“We went through the standard interview/screening process, but nothing came up,” Farber said. “That came back clean, otherwise he wouldn’t have worked for us. That just turns everything on its ear when these things happen.”

Also left searching for answers is the staff of the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, which interprets the fossil record from a creationist perspective. Clinton served as the museum’s director — a volunteer position — from 2012 until he resigned from the position on April 6, 2015. As director, Clinton oversaw the museum’s daily operations, gave tours and performed other duties. In February 2013, he represented the museum in a “creation vs. evolution” debate at Dawson Community College.

Current museum director Robert Canen said that he and the rest of those involved with the museum who knew and had worked with Clinton are “still trying to process” the news of his arrest and what he allegedly did.

“We are absolutely shocked. We are floored,” Canen said. “We had no idea. It just hit everybody hard out here.”

He added that museum staff and volunteers aren’t the only ones left searching for answers or the right way to respond. Noting the fact that Clinton has served as a guest speaker/pastor at several local churches, Canen said the pastors of those churches are right now “struggling with what to tell their congregations.”

As those who knew and worked with Clinton come to grips with the allegations against him, Robert Canen said there’s one message they want to make loud and clear.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Michelle and the kids,” he said.

Reach Jason Stuart at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

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