The usual sentence for a crime like this is a minimum of 72 years but pastor David Richards was sentenced to 12 years in jail – 60 years less than the maximum term sought by prosecutors.
David Richards, 41 was sentenced to 12 years in jail, 62 years less than the maximum. As judge Steve Sword handed down the lenient sentence, he cited Richards’ work as a pastor and the Bible study he began in jail as mitigating factors.
David Richards was found guilty of rape, incest, and sexual battery by an authority figure for abusing his adopted daughter for 2 years.
“I wanted to throw my body away, Not a day goes by that I don’t in some way I think of what he did to me…” Amber Richards said as she delivered her victim impact statement in court. “I firmly believe if given opportunity, he would victimize another young girl.”
Amber stated that she had been a victim of her abusive father’s sexual abuse since she was 14 years old. He continued to abuse her after several years until she finally decided to go to the authorities.
However, Richards continued to maintain his innocence throughout the trial and attempted to paint Amber as a rebellious teenager who first made her allegations of sexual abuse to act out against the strict rule he made for his children.
“I stand before you convicted of a crime I did not commit. I simply believe the system just erred in this case,” said Richards.
But forensic testing uncovered the presence of his semen on the girl’s bed frame.
Amber has since been able to get in touch with her biological parents who were also present at the court proceedings, in support of their daughter. “I didn’t really do this for me, I did it, so it didn’t happen to anyone else, so nobody’s in the same situation as I am,” said Amber.
Along with her family, a few dozen others were also present in the court in his support, “I’m not sure why I’m here… but I assume it’s for his(God’s) purpose.”
Speaking after her dad was found guilty in February, Amber said: “I’m glad I can finally move on with my life… I didn’t really do this for me, I did it, so it didn’t happen to anyone else, so nobody’s in the same situation as I am, especially kids, they don’t deserve to go through things to do that.”
Richards was formerly a pastor at My Father’s House Church of God in Lenoir City. David Thompson, who shared ministry duties with Richards testified in his defense, saying “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.”
“I spent almost six years in his house, and another six years going through this case, ” said Amber, who is now 21, “How’s that fair?”
“But at the end of the day, I’m just glad he’s in jail.”
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