Pastor Convicted of Repeatedly Raping Adopted Daughter Gets Light Sentence Because of “Longtime Ministry”
David Richards, a former Pastor and former case worker with Smoky Mountain Children's Home in Sevierville, Tennessee, was convicted by a Knox County jury of seven women and five men in February this year (2019) on nine felony counts, including rape, incest and sexual battery by an authority figure regarding his then 14-year-old adopted daughter, Amber Richards. Prosecutors wanted the maximum sentence of 72 years behind bars, but the judge, Knox County Judge Steven Sword, gave him a much lighter sentence, due to his Christian ministry and supporters from his church who showed up at the sentencing. Victims of sexual abuse are seldom identified in court, but after a jury handed down the conviction of David Richards in February, his adopted daughter Amber decided to go public and make a statement. She was in court during the sentencing, sitting with her biological parents and a half dozen other supporters. "I wanted to throw my body away," Amber Richards said as she delivered her victim impact statement Thursday. "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."