A light sentence was handed down to a former pastor who was found guilty of repeatedly ra-ing his adopted daughter while she was a teenager. The reason he was given a lenient sentence was because he is “a good Christian,” according to the judge.
Despite the prosecutors’ recommendations for a maximum term of 72 years, the judge sentenced David to 12 years in prison.
The judge reportedly took the man’s ‘longtime ministry’ and the fact that he was supported by so many people in the courtroom into account when handing him the lenient sentence.
David was found guilty of nine felony counts, including ra-e, incest, and se-ual battery, for abusing his adopted daughter, Amber, for two years, beginning when she was 14.
The court heard from the victim, who chose to waive her anonymity and speak publicly after the verdicts were made. She was subjected to the abuse for two years prior to reporting the crimes.
Delivering her impact statement, Amber said:
I wanted to throw my body away. Not a day goes by that I don’t, in some way, think of what he did to me… I firmly believe that if given the opportunity, he would victimize another young girl.
Amber sat on the other side of the courtroom during the sentencing. She was joined by six other people, including her biological parents, whom she has gotten in touch with in recent years.
David maintained his innocence throughout the trial, asking for leniency from judge Steve.
The former pastor took the stand in his own defense, claiming Amber was a defiant teenager who didn’t appreciate his attempts to impose strict rules for his children.
I stand before you convicted of crimes I did not commit. I simply believe the system just erred in this case. I’m not sure why I’m here, but I assume it’s for His purpose.
However, forensic testing uncovered the presence of seminal fluid on the girl’s bed frame, which was then matched to David via DNA testing.
The judge had a lot of freedom when making his sentencing decision, as most of the charges David was convicted of—including ra-e—are punishable by probation alone under state law.
Only the charge of se-ual battery by an authority figure requires a minimum of three years of mandatory imprisonment. However, prosecutors sought the maximum term of 72 years behind bars.
Judge Steve went on to refer to Richards as a “good Christian man,” a title that has found its way across news headlines.
Steve, though, noted the time frame of the abuse, which began when Amber Richards was 14 and continued for nearly two years before she reported it to authorities, as well as David’s abuse of his position of trust as the girl’s sole guardian.
Richards has since hired a new attorney, Stephen, who made clear his intention to seek a new trial. We are republishing this story amid recent reports that child se-ual abuse has increased in the United States during the pandemic.