It’s hard to be surprised when hearing about a religious leader sexually abusing young kids these days, but this one really is shocking. A Christian missionary who provided shelter to orphans in Haiti was sentenced to 40 years in prison for sexually abusing the young girls, some as young as six.
Daniel John Pye, a 36-year-old missionary who operated an orphanage in Haiti from 2006 to 2012, was convicted of “child sex tourism” crimes this past November. Now he faces 40 years in prison, followed by 25 years of supervised release, for sexually abusing the same young girls he had promised to help in the name of God.
Prosecutors say Pye, who was providing the orphans with shelter, clothing, and food, “obtained financial support for the orphanage through his connections with numerous religious organizations and other nonprofit groups.”
During his time operating the orphanage, Pye would regularly sexually abuse the female residents of his orphanage, including girls as young as six years old. As described by the Haitian victims during trial, Pye routinely sexually abuse his victims both at the orphanage and while at the beach.
Regardless of his religious affiliation, this man’s crimes are heinous. But the fact that he held up his badge of Christianity and promised to help these children in the name of God, then abused them in the worst possible ways, somehow makes the already disturbing situation even worse.
There was a time when being a “Christian” was synonymous with doing the right thing — when believers strived to meet the standards of their own divine ethical code — but there are far too many stories these days of religion being used by predators to discourage prying eyes. There’s a certain amount of trust people have in missionaries and other religious leaders, and that’s exactly what Pye and other abusers have taken advantage of.
His crimes are stomach-turning, but there is a silver lining in all this, and that’s that the justice system did its job. This man was arrested, found guilty, and has now been sentenced to 40 years in prison, where they don’t take too kindly to child abusers. By the time he’s out, he’ll be 76 and starting his supervised release. Even then, I’ll say the sentencing was too light.
I guess we should be glad Christians didn’t give him a standing ovation for his crimes.