Of all the crimes that a person can commit, sexual abuse of your own child is considered one of the most heinous.
Instead of protecting those placed in your care, you exploit their trust and vulnerability.
Usually, when a parent or caregiver is found guilty of sexually abusing the child they were supposed to take care of, you’d expect them to rot in jail.
Sadly, that was not the case for a 14-year-old girl and her 41-year-old adoptive father, who was found guilty of rape.
The way David Richards got away with his crimes has angered many people.
A Reduced Sentence
In Knox County, Tennessee, the prosecution wanted David to spend 72 years in prison for molesting his adoptive daughter.
However, he was given a reduced sentence. It was not because David showed remorse and regret. His sentence was reduced because the judge liked that David was a pastor.
As a result, Judge Steve Sword sentenced David to 12 years in jail.
He effectively got 60 years shaved off his sentence despite being found guilty of nine counts of felony.
Reports indicate that Judge Sword said that the Bible study David started in jail and his work as a pastor led to reducing the sentence.
As per the Knoxville News Sentinel, David’s nine felony convictions included sexual battery by an authority figure, rape, and incest.
Amber Spoke Up
Most of the time, sexual abuse victims prefer not to be identified if they come forward about their experiences.
Amber was brave, though, and decided that she would not remain quiet. David abused her for two years, and it started when she was only 14 years old.
She wanted to stand up and share her story in the hopes of saving others from the same fate.
The teen admitted that what happened made her hate her own body, and she felt horrible about it.
“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.”
Amber is convinced that if given a chance, David would sexually abuse another girl.
“I firmly believe if given the opportunity, he would victimize another girl.”
“I’m just glad that I can finally move on with my life. And I didn’t really do this for me. I did it, so it didn’t happen to anybody else. and so nobody else is in the same situation as I am, especially amazing kids.”
Bravely, she added:
“They don’t deserve to go through things like that, and if I had to be the one to make sure that it never happens again, then I would want to do that.”
David Said He’s Innocent
The pastor insisted that he is not guilty of the crimes he was convicted of. He stated that Amber made the claims because she is a ‘defiant teenager’ and didn’t like the strict rules he enforced in his home.
However, when forensic testing was done during the investigation into the accusation, traces of David’s semen were found on Amber’s bed frame.
Still, he maintains his innocence.
“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.”
David Thompson, a fellow pastor, believes in his friend’s innocence.
“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.”
Those who have followed the case hope that the teenager will rebuild her life, even if the justice system failed.
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