Here’s all you need to know about Pastor David Richards: He repeatedly raped his adopted daughter, starting when she was just 14 years old.
She finally told authorities when she was 16. He denied doing anything wrong, though his semen was found on her bed frame. A jury found him guilty on nine felony counts (including rape, incest, and sexual battery) earlier this year.
Richards faced the possibility of 72 years in prison.
You already know where this story is going, don’t you…?
During his sentencing hearing, dozens of people told the judge about what a wonderful Christian man he was. Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword fell for it.
The judge acknowledged Richards’ longtime ministry — he began a Bible study among his fellow inmates while jailed at the Knox County Detention Facility — and the support he still receives as mitigating factors.
More than 30 people sat on the defendant’s side of the courtroom in a show of support, including David Thompson, who shared ministry duties with Richards at My Father’s House Church of God in Lenoir City.
“I find it impossible for me to believe he’s guilty of this,” said Thompson, who echoed the call for leniency. “His business needs him. His family needs him. Our church needs him.”
Ultimately, the judge backed away from the 72 year maximum sentence he could’ve given… and settled on a mere 12.
That means Richards will still be sexually functional by the time he’s out of prison and able to take advantage of other victims — and that’s assuming he actually completes the full term.
It’s just another example of Christianity literally being treated as a Get Out of Jail Free card even though we’re talking about a convicted child rapist. An atheist who raped his daughter would go to jail for life, I guess, but a Christian man who sexually abuses his daughter over and over deserves some leniency because he’s really a good guy.
Amber Richards is the daughter in question, and she said in her impact statement that “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 young girl.”
The judge heard that and ignored it. Then he gave David Richards the opportunity to traumatize more children in the future in part because of his dedication to Jesus.
It’s a sign of a broken judicial system as well as proof that religion gets far more credit than it deserves. Nothing in this man’s Christian faith prevented him from raping his daughter. Yet he’s being rewarded for his devoutness, and Christianity continues getting unearned credit despite the actions of its followers.
How warped must a religion be where a man like this can be considered a faithful devotee?
(Thanks to Mark for the link)