PROSECUTORS wanted Tennessee pastor David Richards, 41, to be jailed for 72 years for sexually abusing his adoptive daughter from when she was just 14. But a judge hearing the case last week was so impressed by the rapist’s godliness he sentenced him to just 12 years.
Judge Steve Sword cited Richard’s work as a pastor and the fact that he led Bible studies in jail while awaiting trial as mitigating factors in a case that saw the pastor, of My Father’s House Church of God in Lenoir City, convicted of rape, incest, and sexual battery by an authority figure.
The church had a presence on Facebook, but its page has since been deleted.
Richards, above, thinks he shouldn’t be jailed at all.
More than 30 parishioners and friends sat on Richards’ side of the courtroom in a show of support. David Thomspon, who shared ministry duties with Richards, testified and expressed doubt at the charges, saying:
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 (God’s) purpose.
I find it impossible for me to believe he’s guilty of this. His business needs him. His family needs him. Our church needs him.
But prosecutors said Richards abused his daughter for two years before she reported it to authorities.
Normally victims of sexual abuse are not identified, but Amber Richards (above) chose to deliver a heart-wrenching victim statement in court. She 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 if given the opportunity, he would victimize another girl.
Richards is now seeking a new trial.