David Richards is a 41-year-old pastor from Knox County, Tennessee, who was recently sentenced to 12 years jail time for taking advantage of his adoptive 14-year-old daughter. This is 60 years less than the maximum term, sought by prosecutors.
Judge Steve Sword cited Richard’s work as a pastor and the Bible study he began in jail as mitigating factors as he handed the lenient sentence.
The pastor was found guilty of forcible intercourse, incest, and taking advantage of his daughter, Amber Richards, for two years. He began the horror when she was just 14 years old, and though typically those to whom the wrongdoing has bone done are not identified, she chose to testify publicly after her adoptive father was convicted in February.
Amber delivered a truly heart-breaking statement on Thursday.
She said that she wanted to throw her body away, and not a day goes by that she doesn’t, in some way, think of what he did to her. She noted that she firmly believes, if, given the opportunity, he would do the same with another girl.
Prosecutors said that David Richards took advantage of his daughter for two years before she reported it, and forensic testing found traces of his liquid on her bed frame. The pastor, however, claimed that he was innocent, and he took the witness stand in his own defense.
He said that he didn’t commit the crimes, and he believes that the system erred in this case. He added that he assumes he’s there for “God’s purpose”.
He was formerly a pastor at My Father’s House Church of God in Lenoir City, and more than 30 parishioners and friends sat on his side of the courtroom in a show of support.
All of the charges he was convicted could have been punished by only probation under state law, and he is currently seeking a new trial.