A former pastor allegedly convicted of repeatedly raping his adopted 14-year-old daughter was given a lenient sentence by a judge stating that he’s ‘a good Christian’. The accused, David Lynn Richards Jr. was sentenced to 12 years in prison on May 9 by a Knox County judge, despite prosecutors recommending the maximum term of 72 years.
According to reports, the judge reportedly took the man’s long time service to the ministry as a factor deserving of the lenient sentence.
Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Richards was found guilty of nine felony counts, including rape, incest, and sexual battery by an authority figure for abusing his adoptive daughter, Amber Richards, for two years beginning when she was 14.
Adopted daughter, Amber who chose to testify publicly against her father after he was convicted in February delivered a heart-wrenching victim statement Thursday, saying , ‘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,’ she continued.
Prosecutors said Richards abused his daughter for two years before she finally reported it to authorities. Following the alleged abused by Amber, forensic testing upon investigation found traces of Richards’ semen on the girl’s bed frame.
Richards, on his part, claimed that he was innocent as he took the witness stand in his own defense, ‘ ‘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’’ he said.
Under state law, Richards who was convicted of the 'mentioned crimes' could have been punished by only probation, except for sexual battery by an authority figure that carries a minimum of three years in prison.
Richards has since hired a new attorney, Stephen Ross Johnson, who made clear his intention to seek a new trial.